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Heroes of the Nations 

A Series of Biographical Studies presenting 
the lives and work of certain representative 
historical characters, about whom have gath- 
etcd the traditions of the nations to which 
they belong, and who have, in the majority 
of instances, been accepted as types of the 
several national ideals. 

t>. m. C, Davis, C.S3.E,, 










1394-1460 A.D. 





Venient annis ssecula sens 
Quibus Oceanus vincula rerum 
Laxet, et ingens pateat tellus, 
Tethya quenovos detegat orbes, 
Nee sit terris ultima Thule. 

SENECA, Medea {$. 


First Published - ~ 1901 
New Edition - - - 1923 
Reprinted- - - - 1931 

Made and Printed tn Great Britain at the 
frtolpb Printing Works, Gatt Strut, Kin&smy, W.C,* 







VIKINGS OR NORTHMEN (CIRCA 787-1066) . . 50 





FIRST CRUSADES (CIRCA 1100-1460) . , .114 


vi Contents. 



PORTUGAL TO 1400 (1095-1400) . 123 


THE FIRST VOYAGES, 1410-15 .... 138 



COVERIES (1418-28) ...., 160 

CAPE BOJADOR AND THE AZORES (1428-41) . . 168 

HENRY'S POLITICAL LIFE (1433-41) .... 179 

FROM BOJADOR TO CAPE VERDE (1441-5) . . . 192 

THE ARMADA OF 1445 ...... 228 

VOYAGES OF 1446-8 240 

THE AZORES (1431-60) ..,.,. 250 

Contents. vii 




DON PEDRO (14409) . . . . . 257 

CADAMOSTO (1455-6) 261 

VOYAGES OF DIEGO GOMEZ (1458-60) . . . 289 


HENRY'S LAST YEARS AND DEATH (1458-60) . . 299 



INDEX * 325 



Built on the site of an old sailor's chapel, existing in 
Prince Henry's day, and used by his men. In the niche 
between the two great entrance doors, is a statue of Prince 
Henry in armour. 


West front of church in which Prince Henry and his 
House lie buried. This church was founded by the Prince's 
father, King John, in memory of his victory over Castille 
at Aljubarrota. 


The aisle containing the tombs of Prince Henry and his 
brothers, the Infants of the House of Aviz. 


Henry's father and mother, from their tomb in the Abbey 
of Batalha. 


The Mother Church of the Order of Christ, of which 
Henry was Grand-Master. 

* From a water-colour. 

x Ilhistrations. 


The original forms the frontispiece to the Paris MS. of 
Azurara's Discovery and Conquest of G^tinea* 



From his tomb in Batalha Church ; with his escutcheons (r) 
as titular King of Cyprus ; (2) as Knight of the Garter of 
England ; (3) as Grand Master of the Order of Christ. 


Supposed to represent Columbus, as St. Christopher, 
carrying across the ocean the Christian faith, in the form of 
the infant Christ. From the map of Juan de la Cosa, 


From a portrait in the possession of the Count of 

AFFONSO D'ALBUQUERQUE 4 . . . . . . ,318 

1 From Major's Life of Henry the Navigator. 

* From the Hukluyt Society's Select Letters of Columbus* 

3 From the Halcluyt Society's edition of Thcc I'oyagcs of Vasco da Garnet* 

4 From the Hakluyt Society's edition of Albuquerque's Commentaries* 



From Nordenskjold's fac-slmile atlas 


As reconstructed by M. Reinaud from the written de- 
scriptions of the Arabic geographer. This illustrates the 
extremely unreal and untrue conception of the earth among 
Moslem students, especially those who followed the theories 
of Ptolomy e.g., in the extension to Africa eastward, so as 
practically or actually to join China, making the Indian 
Ocean an inland sea. 


(B. Mus., Map room, shelf 35 [5], sheet 6). Of un- 
certain date, between c. 780-980 but probably not later 
than the loth century. One of the earliest examples of 
Christian map-making. 


(B. Mus., Cotton mss., Tib. B.V., fol. 59). This gives 
us the most interesting and accurate view of the world that 
we get in the pre-Crusading Christian science. The 
square, but not conventional outline is detailed with con- 
siderable care and precision. The writing, though min- 
ute, is legible ; but the Nile, which, like the Red Sea in 
Africa, is coloured red, in contrast to the ordinary grey of 
water in this example, is made to wander about Africa 
from side to side, with occasional disappearances, in a 

xii List of Maps. 


thoroughly mythical fashion. This map, from a ms. of 
Priscian's Peviegesis^ appears to have been executed at the 
end of the loth century ; it is on vellum, highly finished, 
and has been engraved, in outline, in Play fair's Atlas (PI. I), 
and more fully in the Penny Magazine (July 22, 1837). 
In the reign of Henry II., it appears to have belonged to 
Battle Abbey. 


(B. Mus. , Map room. From Ottino's reproduction). 
One of the oldest and simplest of Christian Mappe-Moncles, 
giving a special prominence to Paradise, (with the figures 
of Adam, Eve, and the serpent), to the mountains and 
rivers of the world, and to the four winds of heaven. It is 
to be associated with the Spanish map of 1109, and the 
Mappe-Monde of St. Sever. 


(B. Mus., Add. mss., 11695). The original, gorgeously 
coloured, represents the crudest of Christian and Moslem 
notions of the world. Even more crude than in the Turin 
map and the Mappe-Monde of St. Sever, both of which offer 
some resemblances to this. The earth is represented as of 
quadrangular shape, surrounded by the ocean. At the K. 
is Paradise with the figures of the Temptation. A part of 
theS. is cut off by the Red Sea, which is straight (and coloured 
red), just as the straight Mediterranean, with its quad- 
rangular islands, divides the N.W. quarter, or Europe, 
from the S.W. quarter, or Africa. The yligean Sea joins 
the Mediterranean at a right angle, in the centre of the 
map. In the ocean, bordering the vvhole, are square 
islands, c.g.> Tile(Thule), Britania, Scocia, Fu(o)rtunanim 
insula. The Turin map occurs in another copy of the 
same work A Commentary :m the Apocalypse* 


(B. Mus., Add. mss., 28, 681). A good illustration of 
the circular type of mediaeval map, which is sometimes 
little better than a panorama of legends and monsters, 
Christ at the top ; the dragons crushed beneath him at the 

List of Maps. xiii 


bottom ; Jerusalem, the navel of the earth, in the middle 
as a sort of bull's-eye to a target, all show a "religious'* 
geography. The line of queer figures, on the right side, 
figuring the S. coast of Africa, suggests a parallel with the 
still more fanciful Mappe-Monde of Hereford. (For copy 
see Bevan and Phillott's edition of the Hereford map) 


1275-1300 106 

(B. Mus., King's Lib., XXIII). The S. coast of Africa, 
as in the Psalter map, is fringed with monstrous tribes ; 
monstrous animals fill up a good deal of the interior ; half 
of the wheel representing Jerusalem in the middle of the 
world appears in the N.E. corner ; and the designer's idea 
of the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands is specially note- 
worthy. The Hereford map is a specimen of the thoroughly 
traditional and unpractical school of mediaeval geographers 
who based their work on books, or fashionable collections 
of travellers* tales such as Pliny, Solinus, or Martianus 
Capella and who are to be distinguished from the scien- 
tific school of the same period, whose best works were the 
Portolani, or coast-charts of the early I4th century. 


(B. Mus., King's Lib., 149 F. 2 p. 282). The shape of 
Africa in this map is supposed by some to be valuable in the 
history of geographical advance, as suggesting the possibility 
of getting round from the Atlantic into the Indian Ocean. 


(From Nordenskj old's fac-simile atlas). This illustrates 
the accuracy of the I4th century coast-charts, especially in 
the Mediterranean. 


(From the Medicean Lib. at Florence ; reproduced in 
B. Mi*s., Map room, shelf 158, 22, 23). This is the most 
remarkable of all the Portolani of the I4th century, as 
giving a view of the world, and especially Africa, which is 
far nearer the actual truth than could be expected. Espe- 
cially its outline of S. Africa and of the bend of the Guinea 

xiv List of Maps. 


coast, is surprisingly near tlie truth, $ven as a guess, in a 
chart made one hundred and thirty-five years before the 
Cape of Good Hope was first rounded. 


(B. Mus., Map room, 13, 14). This gives the British 
Islands, the W. coasts of Europe, N. Africa as far as Cape 
Boyador, and the Canaries and other islands in the Atlantic. 
The interior of Africa is filled with fantastic pictures of 
native tribes ; the boat load of men off Cape Boyador in the 
extreme S.W. of the map probably represents the Catalan 
explorers of the year 1346, whose voyage in search of the 
1 ' River of Gold " this map commemorates. 


(Engraved iii copper 1595. Almost an unaltered copy of 
a Portolano from the I4th century. From Nordenskjb'lcTs 
fac-simile atlas). This illustrates the remarkable correct- 
ness in the drawing of the Mediterranean basin and the 
coasts of W. Europe, reached by the Italian and Balearic 
coast-charts, or Portolani, in the I4th century. 


(B. Mus., Map room, shelf 2 [6], 13, 14 ; copy of 1797). 
This map was executed just before the fall of Constanti- 
nople (1453), and ' gives a view of the world as im- 
agined in the isth century. It is very fantastic and 
unscientific, but remarkable among its kind for its com- 
parative freedom from ecclesiastical influence. 


1457-9 302 

(Cf. reproduction in B. Mus., Add. mss., 11267, and 
photographic copy in Map room). This map of Fra Mauro 
of Murano, (near Venice), is usually understood to be a sort 
of picture, not merely of the world as then known, but of 
Prince Henry's discoveries in particular on the W. African 
coast. From this point of view it is perhaps disappointing ; 
the inlet of the Rio d'Ouro (?), to the S. of the Sahara, 
Is exaggerated beyond all recognition ; at the S. Cape (of 

List of Maps. 

Good Hope) a great island is depicted, separated from the 
mainland by a narrow channel possibly Madagascar 


As reduced an d simplified in Lelewel's A Has. The corners 
of the table are filled up with four small circles represent- 
ing : (i) The Ptolemaic System in the Spheres. (2) The 
lunar influences over the tides. (3) The circles described 
in the terrestial globe. .(4) A picture of the expulsion 
from Eden, with the four sacred rivers. 

MAP OF 1492 3 22 

(B. Mus., Add. rnss. 15760). This gives a general view 
of the Portuguese discoveries along the whole W. coast of 
Africa, and just beyond the Cape of Good Hope, whicli 
was rounded in 1486. 


volume aims at giving an 
account, based throughout upon 
original sources, of the progress of 
geographical knoivledge and enter- 
prise in Christendom throughout 
Middle Ages, down to the middle 
or even the end of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, as well as a life of Prince Henry 
the Navigator, who brought this move- 
ment of European Expansion within sight 
of its greatest successes. That is, as explained in 
Chapter I., it has been attempted to treat Explora- 
tion as one continuous thread in the story of Chris- 
tian Europe from the time of the conversion of the 
Empire ; and to treat the life of Prince Henry as 
the turning-point, the central epoch in a develop- 
ment of many centuries : this life, accordingly, has 
been linked as closely as possible with what went 
before and prepared for it ; one third of the text, at 
least, has been occupied with the history of the 
preparation of the earlier time, and the difference 
between our account of the eleventh- and fifteenth- 
century Discovery, for instance, will be found to be 
chiefly one of less and greater detail. This differ- 
ence depends, of course, on the prominence in the 


xviii Preface. 

later time of a figure of extraordinary interest and 
force, who is the true hero in the drama of the Geo- 
graphical Conquest of the Outer World that starts 
from Western Christendom. The interest that cen- 
tres round Henry is somewhat clouded by the 
dearth of complete knowledge of his life; but 
enough remains to make something of the picture of 
a hero, both of science and of action. 

Our subject, then, has been strictly historical, but 
a history in which a certain life, a certain bio- 
graphical centre, becomes more and more important, 
till from its completed achievement we get our best 
outlook upon the past progress of a thousand years, 
on this side, and upon the future progress of those 
generations which realised the next great victories 
of geographical advance. 

The series of maps which illustrate this account, 
give the same continuous view of the geographical 
development of Europe and Christendom down to 
the end of Prince Henry's age. These are, it is be- 
lieved, the first English reproductions in any accessi- 
ble form of several of the great charts of the Middle 
Ages, and taken together they will give, it is hoped, 
the best view of Western or Christian map-making 
before the time of Columbus that is to be found in 
any English book, outside the great historical 

In the same way the text of this volume, espe- 
cially in the earlier chapters, tries to supply a want 
which is believed to exist of a connected account 
from the originals known to us, of the expansion of 
Europe through geographical enterprise, from the 

Preface. xix 

conversion of the Empire to the period of those dis- 
coveries which mark most clearly the transition from 
the Middle Ages to the Modern World. 

The chief authorities have been : 

For the Introductory chapter : (i) Reinaud's ac- 
count of the Arabic geographers and their theories 
in connection with the Greek, in his edition of Abul- 
feda, Paris, 1848; (2) Sprenger's Massoudy, 1841; 

(3) Edrisi, translated by Am<d6e Jaubert ; (4) Ibn- 
Batuta (abridgment), translated by S. Lee, London, 
1829; (5) Abulfeda, edited and translated by Rei- 
naud ; (6) Albyrouny's India, specially chapters L, 
10-14; xvii., 18-31 ; (7) texts of Strabo andPtolemy ; 
(8) Wappaus' Heinrich der Seefahrer, part I. 

I. For Chapter I. (Early Christian Pilgrims): 
(i) Itinera et Descriptions Terrce Sanctce, vols. i, 
and ii., published by the Societ6 de 1'Orient, Latin, 
Geneva, 1877 an< ^ ^85, which give the original 
texts of nearly all the Palestine Pilgrims' memoirs 
to the death of Bernard the Wise ; (2) the Publica- 
tions of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society ; (3) 
Thomas Wright's Early Travels in Palestine (Bohn) ; 

(4) Avezac's Recueil pour Sermr a Vhistoire de la 
gfographie ; (5) some recent German studies on the 
early pilgrim records, e.g., Gildemeister on Antoninus 
of Placentia. 

II. For Chapter II. (The Vikings) : (i) Snorro 
Sturleson's Heimskringla or Sagas of the Norse 
Kings ; (2) Dozy's essays ; (3) the, possibly spuri- 
ous, Voyages of the Zeni, with the Journey of Ivan 
Bardsen, in the Hakluyt Society's Publications. 

xx Preface. 

III. For Chapter III. (The Crusades and Land 
Travel): (i) Publication of the Palestine Pilgrims* 
Text Society ; (2) Avezac's edition of the originals 
in his Recueil pour Servir a riiistoire de la geo- 
graphic ; (3) Yule's Cathay and the Way Thither ; 

(4) Yule's Marco Polo ; (5) Benjamin of Tudela and 
others in Wright's Early Travels in Palestine ; (6) 
Yule's Friar Jordanus ; (7) Sir John Mandeville's 

IV. For Chapter IV. (Maritime Exploration) : 
(i) The Marino Sanuto Map of 1306; (2) the Lau- 
rentian Portolano of 1351 ; (3) The Catalan Map of 
I37S~6 ; (4) scattered notices collected in early chap- 
ters of R. H. Major's Prince Henry the Navigator ; 

(5) Bthencourt's Conquest of the Canaries (Hakluyt 
Society, ed., Major) ; (6) Wappaus' Heinrick der 
Seefahrer^ part 2. 

V. For Chapter V. (Geographical Science) : 
(i) Neckam's De Naturis Rerum ; (2) the seven 
chief Mappe-Mondes of the fourteenth and early 
fifteenth centuries ; (3) the leading Portolani ; (4) 
scattered notices, e. g. t from Guyot de Provins' 
"Bible," Brunetto Latini, Beccadelli of Palermo, 
collected in early chapters of Major's Henry the 
Navigator ; (5) Wauwerman's Henri le Navigateiir. 

VI. For Chapter VI. (Portugal to 1400): (i) 
The Chronicle of Don John /. / (2) Oliveiro Martins' 
Sons of Don John L; (3) A. Herculano's History of 
Portugal; (4) Osbernus de Expugnatione Lixbo- 
nensi. ^-^ 

VII./Tbr Chapter VII. (Henry's position in 
Azm*ara's Discovery and Conquest of 

Preface. xxl 

VIII. For Chapter VIII. (Ceuta) : (i) Azurara's 
Chronicle of the Conquest of Ceuta; (2) Azurara's 
Discovery of Guinea. 

IX. For Chapter IX. (Henry >s Settlement at 
Sagres) : (i) Azurara's Guinea; (2) De Barros* 
Asia; (3) Wauwerman's Henri le Navigateur et 
VEcole Portngaise de Sagres. 

X. For Chapter X. (Cape Bojador and the 
Azores): (i) Azurara's Guinea; (2) O. Martins' 
Sons of Don John I. 

XL For Chapter XL (Henry's Political Life, 
1433-41) : (i) Pina's Chronicle of King Edward; 
(2) O. Martins' Sons of Don John L; (3) Azurara's 
Chronicle of John L ; (4) Pina's Chronicle of 
Affonso V. 

XII. For Chapter XII. (From Boyador to 
Cape Verde). (i) Azurara's Guinea; (2) De Bar- 
ros; (3) Pina's Chronicle of Affonso V. ; (4) O. 
Martins' Sons of Don John /. 

For Chapters XIII. to the end. (i) Azurara's 
Discovery and Conquest of Guinea ; (2) Narratives 
of Cadamosto and Diego Gomez ; (3) Pina's Chroni- 
cle of Affonso V.; (4) Prince Henry's Charters. 

The three modern lives of Prince Henry which I 
have chiefly consulted are : 

R. H. Major's Henry the Navigator, Wappaus' 
Heinrich der Seeffahrer, and De Weer's Prinz Hein- 
ricky with O. Martins' Lives of the Infants of the 
House of Aviz in his Sons of Don John /, 

The maps and illustrations have been planned in 
a regular series. 

L As to the former, they are meant to show in 

xxii Preface. 

an historical succession the course of geographical 
advance in Christendom down to the death of Prince 
Henry (1460). Setting aside the Ptolemy, which 
represents the knowledge of the world at its height 
in the pre-Christian civilisation, and the Edrisi which 
represents the Arabic followers of Ptolemy, whose 
influence upon early Christian geography was very 
marked, all the maps reproduced belong to the 
science of the Christian ages and countries. The 
two Mappe-mondes above referred to are both 
placed in the introductory chapter, and are treated 
only as the most important examples of the science 
which the Graeco-Roman Empire bequeathed to 
Christendom, but which between the seventh and 
thirteenth centuries was chiefly worked upon by the 
Arabs. Among early Christian maps, that of St. 
Sever, possibly of the eighth century, the Anglo- 
Saxon map of the tenth century, the Turin Map of 
the eleventh, and the Spanish map of the twelfth 
(1109), represent very crude and simple types of 
sketches of the world, in which within a square or 
oblong surrounded by the ocean a few prominent 
features only, such as the main divisions of countries, 
are attempted. The Anglo-Saxon example, though 
greatly superior to the others given here, essentially 
belongs to this kind of work, where some little truth 
is preserved by a happy ignorance of the travellers' 
tales that came into fashion later, but where there is 
only the vaguest and most general knowledge of 
geographical facts. 

On the other nand, in the next group, to which 
Psalter map is allied, an4 in which the? Jierefor4 

Preface. xxiii 

map is our best example, mythical learning drawn 
from books like Pliny, Solinus, St. Isidore, and Mar- 
tianus Capella, which collected stories of beasts and 
monsters, stones and men, divine, human, and natu- 
ral marvels on the principle Credo quia impossible 
has overpowered every other consideration, and a 
map of the world becomes a great picture-book of 
curious objects, in which the very central and pri- 
mary interest of geography is lost. But by the side 
of and almost at the same time as these specimens 
of geographical mythology, geographical science had 
taken a new start in the coast charts or portolani of 
Balearic and Italian seamen, some specimens of 
which form our next set of maps. 

Dulcert's portolano of 1339 and the Laurentianof 
1351 are two of the best examples of this kind of 
work, which gave us our first really accurate map 
of any part of the globe, but which for some time 
was entirely confined to coast drawing, and was 
meant to supply the practical wants of captains, 
pilots, and seamen. The Catalan atlas of 1375-6 
shows the portolano type extended to a real Mappa 
Mundi ; the elaborate carefulness and sumptuous- 
ness of this example prepares us for the still higher 
work of Andrea Bianco and of Benincasa in the 
fifteenth century. As the Laurentian portolano of 
1351 commemorates the voyage of 1341 and marks 
its discoveries in the Atlantic islands, so the Catalan 
map of 13/5-6 commemorates the Catalan voyage 
of 1346, and gives the best and most up-to-date pic- 
ture of the N. W. African coast as it was known 
before Prince Henry's discoveries. 

xx iv Preface. 

Last of these groups of maps is that of examples 
from Henry's own age, such as the Fra Mauro map 
of 1459 or the maps of Andrea Bianco and Benin- 
casa (e. ^., 1436, 1448, 1468), among which the first- 
named is the only one we have been able to give 

The Borgian map of 1450 is given as an extra- 
ordinary specimen of what could be done as late as 
1450, not as an example of geographical progress ; 
and the map of 1492, recording Portuguese discover- 
ies down to the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope, 
is added to illustrate the advance of explorers in the 
years closely following Henry's death, as it was real- 
ised at the time. 

The maps have in most cases been set from 
the modern standpoint, but, as will readily be seen 
by the position of the names, the normal mediaeval 
setting was quite different, with the S. or E. at the 

II. The illustrations aim at giving portraits or pic- 
tures of the chief persons and places connected with 
the life of Prince Henry. There are three of the 
Prince himself ; one from the Paris MS. of Azurara, 
one from the gateway of the great convent church of 
Belem, one from the recumbent statue over his tomb 
at Batalha. Two others give: (i) The whole 
group of the royal tombs of Henry's house, of his 
father, mother, and brothers in the aisle at Batalha, 
and (2) the recumbent statues of his father and 
mother, John and Philippa, in detail ; the exterior 
and general effect of the same church Portugal's 
Westminster, and the mausoleum of the Navigator^ 


own family of Aviz comes next, in a view of this 
greatest of Portuguese shrines. 

Coimbra University, with which as rector or chancel- 
lor or patron Prince Henry was so closely connected, 
for which he once provided house room, and in which 
his benefactions earned him the title of " Protector of 
the studies of Portugal " is given to illustrate his life as 
a student and a man of science ; the mother church 
of the order of Christ at Thomar may remind us of 
another side of his life as a military monk, grand 
master of an order of religious chivalry which at 
least professed to bind its members to a single life, 
and which under his lead took an active part in the 
exploration and settlement of the African coasts and 
the Atlantic islands. 

The portraits of Columbus, Da Gama, and Albu- 
querque, which conclude this set of illustrations, are 
given as portraits of three of Prince Henry's more 
or less conscious disciples and followers, of three 
men who did most to realise his schemes. The first 
of these, who owed to Portuguese advance towards 
'the south the suggestion of corresponding success in 
the west, and who found America by the western 
route to India, as Henry had planned nearly a cen- 
tury before to round Africa and reach Malabar by 
the eastern and southern way, was the nearest of 
the Prince's successful imitators in time, the greatest 
in achievement ; he was not a mere follower of the 
Portuguese initiative, for he struck out a new line or 
at least a neglected one, made the greatest of all 
geographical additions to human knowledge, and 
took the most daring plunge into the unknown that 

xxvl Preface. 

has ever been taken but Columbus, beside his inde- 
pendent position and interest, was certainly on one 
side a disciple of Henry the Navigator, and drew 
much of his inspiration from the impulse that the 
Prince had started. Da Gama, the first who sailed 
direct from Lisbon to India round Africa, and Albu- 
querque, the maker, if not the founder, of the Por- 
tuguese empire in the East, were simply the realisers of 
the vast ambitions that take their start from the work 
and life of Prince Henry, and he has a right to claim 
them as two leading champions of his plans and 
policy. In many points Albuquerque, like Colum- 
bus, is more than a follower ; but in the main outline 
of his achievement he follows upon the work of 
other men, and, among these men, of none so much 
as the Hero of Portugal and of modern discovery. 

Lastly. I have to thank many friends generally 
for their constant kindness and readiness to assist in 
any way, and in particular several for the most 
generous and valuable help in certain parts. 

Mr. T. A. Archer, besides the benefit of his sug- 
gestions throughout, has given special aid in Chap- 
ters-. L> III., V., and the Introductory Chapter, 
especially where anything is said of the connection 
of geographical progress with the Crusades. 1 

Mr. F. York Powell has revised Chapter II. on 
the Vikings, and Professor Margoliouth has done 
the same for the Introductory Chapter on Greek 
and Arabic geography ; Mr. Coote has not only 
given me every help in the map room of the 

1 Compare Archer and Kingsford, The Crusades^ in the Stories of 
the Nations. 

Preface. xxvii 

British Museum, but has read the proofs of Chapter 
V. Mr. H. Yule-Oldham in Chapter XVIII. on the 
Voyage of Cadamosto, and Mr. Prestage in Chapters 
VIII. and IX. on Prince Henry's capture of Ceuta 
and settlement at Sagres, have been most kind in 
offering suggestions. For several hints useful in 
Chapter I. the early Christian pilgrims I have also 
to thank Professor Sanday ; and for revision of a 
great part of the proof-sheets of the entire book, Mr. 
G. N. Richardson and the Rev. W. H. Hutton. 

As to the illustrations, of portraits and monuments, 
etc., I am especially obliged to the Vice-Chancellor 
of Oxford University (Dr. Boyd), who has allowed 
his water-colour paintings of Portuguese subjects to 
be reproduced ; and to the Rev. R. Livingstone of 
Pembroke, and Sir John Hawkins of Oriel, for their 
loan of photographs. 


The Lusitanian Prince who, heaven-inspired, 

To love of useful glory roused mankind, 

And in unbounded commerce mixed the world. 

THOMSON : Seasons, Summer % roio-2. 



science constitutes one of the 
main links between the older learned 
\vorld of the Greeks and Latins and 
the Europe of Henry the Navigator 
and of the Renaissance. In geog- 
raphy it adopted in the main the 
results of Ptolemy and Strabo ; and many of the 
Moslem travellers and writers gained some additional 
hints from Indian, Persian, and Chinese knowledge ; 
but, however much of fact they added to Greek 
cartography, they did not venture to correct its 

Prince Henry the Navigator. 

And what were these postulates ? In part, they 
were the assumptions of modern draughtsmen, bur 
in some important details they differed. And first, 
as to agreement. Three continents, Europe, Asia, 
and Africa, an encircling ocean, the Mediterranean, 
the Black Sea and Caspian, the Red Sea and Persian 
Gulf, the South Asiatic, and North and West Euro- 
pean coasts were indicated with more or less precision 
in the science of the Antonines and even of Hanni- 
bal's age. Similarly, the Nile and Danube, Euphrates 
and Tigris, Indus and Ganges, Jaxartes and Oxus, 
Rhine and Ebro, Don and Volga, with the chief 
mountain ranges of Europe and Western Asia, find 
themselves pretty much in their right places in 
Strabo's description, and are still better placed in 
the great chart of Ptolemy. The countries and na- 
tions from China to Spain are arranged in the order 
of modern knowledge. But the differences were 
fundamental also. Never was there a clearer out- 
running of knowledge by theory, science by con- 
jecture, than in Ptolemy's scheme of the world 
(c. A.D. 130). His chief predecessors, Eratosthenes 
and Strabo, had left much blank space in their 
charts, and had made many mistakes in detail, but 
they had caught the main features of the Old World 
with fair accuracy. Ptolemy, in trying to fill up 
what lie did not know from his inner consciousness, 
evolved a parody of those features. His map, from 
its intricate falsehood, backed as it was by the 
greatest name in geographical science, paralysed all 
real enlargement of knowledge till men began to 
question, not only his facts, but his theories. And 



I * 







The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 3 

as all modern science, in fact, followed the progress 
of world-knowledge, or " geography," we may see 
how Important it was for this revolution to take 
place, for Ptolemy to be dethroned. 

The Arabs, commanding most of the centres of 
ancient learning (Ptolemy's own Alexandria above 
all), riveted the pseudo-science of their predecessors 
on the learned world, along with the genuine knowl- 
edge which they handed down from the Greeks. In 
many details they corrected and amplified the Greek 
results. But most of their geographical theories were 
mere reproductions of Ptolemy's, and to his mistakes 
they added wilder though less important confusions 
or inventions of their own. The result of all this, 
by the tenth century A.D., was a geography, based 
not on knowledge, but on ideas of symmetry. It 
was a scheme fit for fat Arabian Nights* 

And how did Ptolemy lend himself to this ? 

His chief mistakes were only two ; but they 
were mistakes from which at any rate Strabo and 
most of the Greek geographers are free. He made 
the Indian Ocean an inland sea, and he filled up the 
Southern Hemisphere with Africa, or the unknown 
Antarctic land in which he extended Africa, f The 
Dark Continent, in his map, ran out on the one side 
to the south-east of China, and on the other to the 
indefinite west, though there was here no hint of 

* The voyages of Macham (p. 109) and the Zeni (p. 112) are treated 
as genuine, but serious doubts have been thrown on both. 

t Rejecting the old idea of an encircling ocean as the girdle or 
limit of the known world, and replacing it with a new fancy of un- 
bounded continent (on all sides except the north-west) a fancy which 
the vast extension of Roman Dominion under the Empire may have 

Prince Henry the Navigator. 

America or an Atlantis continent. It was a triumph 
of learned imagination over humdrum research. 
Science under Hadrian was ambitious to have its 
world settled and known ; it was not yet settled or 
fully known ; and so a great student constructed a 
melange of fact and fancy mainly based on a guess- 
work of imaginary astronomical reckonings. On the 
far east, Ptolemy joined China and Africa ; and on 
this imaginary western coast, fronting Malacca and 
Further India, he placed various gratuitous towns 
and rivers. Coming to smaller matters, he cut away 
the whole of the Indian peninsula proper, though 
preserving the Further or "Golden" Chersonesus of 
the Malays, and he enlarged Taprobane, or Ceylon, 
to double the size of Asia Minor. Thus the southern 
coast of Asia from Arabia to the Ganges ran almost 
due east, with a strait of sea coming through the 
modern Carnatic, between the continent and the 
Great Spice Island, which included most of the 
Deccan. The Persian Gulf, much greater on this 
map than 'the Black Sea, was made equal in length 
and breadth; the shape of the Caspian was, so to 
say, turned inside out and its length given as from 
east to west, instead of from north to south ; while 
the coast line, even of the familiar Etixine, JSgean, 
and Southern Mediterranean, was anything but true. 
Scandinavia was an island smaller than Ireland; 
Scotland represented a great eastern bend of Britain, 
with the Shetlands and Faroes (Thule) lying a short 
distance to the north, but on the left-hand side of 
the great island. The Sea of Azov, hardly inferior 
to the Euxine, stretched north half way across 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers* 5 

Russia. All Central Africa and the great Southern 
or Antarctic continent was described as pathless 
desert " a land uninhabitable from the heat " ; and 
the sources of the Nile were accounted for by the 
marshes and Mountains of the Moon. 

Thus all the problems of ancient geography were 
explained : where Ptolemy's knowledge failed him 
altogether, no Western of that time had ever been, or 
was likely to go. The whole realised and unrealised 
world was described with such clearness and con- 
sistency, men thought, that what was lacking in 
Aristotle was now stippli-ed. 

Yet it is worth while observing how, centuries be- 
fore Ptolemy, in the ages nearer to Aristotle himself, 
the geography of Eratosthenes and Strabo, by a 
more balanced use of knowledge and by a greater 
restraint of fancy, had composed a far more reliable 

This earlier and discredited map avoided all the 
more serious perversions of Ptolemy. Africa was 
cut off at the limit of actual knowledge, about Cape 
Non on the west and Cape Guardafui on the east ; 
and the " Cinnamon-bearing Coast/' between these 
points, was fringed by the Mountains of ^Ethiopia, 
where the Nile rose. This was the theory which 

* In using the expressions *' Chart/' or tf Map " of Strabo's descrip- 
tion (c t A.D. 20), it is not meant to imply that Strabo himself left 
more than a written description from which a plan was afterwards 
prepared " The world according to Strabo. " The same applies to 
Eratosthenes (c. B.C. 200) and all pre-Ptolemaic Greek geographers. 
Ptolemy's Atlas, probably, and the Peutinger Table, more certainly, 
are maps really drawn by ancient designers ; but these are the only 
ones that have survived from a much larger number. 

Prince Henry the Navigator. 

revived on the decline of the Ptolemaic, and which 
encouraged the Portuguese sailors with hopes of a 
quick approach to India round Africa, as the great 
eastern bend of the Guinea coast seemed to suggest. 
Further, on this pre-Ptolemaic map the Southern 
Ocean was left untouched by a supposed Southern 
Continent, and except for an undue shrinkage of the 
Old World in general as an island in the midst of 
the vast surrounding ocean, a reliable description of 
Western Asia and Central Europe and North Africa 
was in the hands of the learned world two hundred 
years before Christ. 

It is true that Strabo's China is cramped and cut 
short ; that his Ceylon (Taprobane) is even larger 
than Ptolemy's ; that Ireland (lerne) appears to the 
north of Britain ; and that the Caspian joins the 
North Sea by a long and narrow channel ; but the 
true shape of India, of the Persian Gulf and the 
Euxine, of the Sea of Azov and the Mediterranean, 
is marked rightly enough in general outline. This 
earlier chart has not the elaborate completeness of 
Ptolemy's, but it is free from his enormous errors, 
and it has all the advantage of science, however im- 
perfect, over brilliant guessing. 

Of course, even in Ptolemy, this guess-work pure 
and simple only comes in at intervals and does not 
so much affect the central and, for his day, far more 
important tracts of the Old World, but we have yet 
to see how, in the mediaeval period and under Arabic 
imagination, all geography seemed likely to become 
an exercise of fancy. 

The chief Greek descriptions of the world* w$ 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 7 

must clearly remember, were before the mediaeval 
workers, Christian and Moslem, from the first ; these 
men took their choice, and the point is that they, 
and specially the Arabs, chose with rare exceptions 
the last of these, the Ptolemaic system, because it 
was the more ambitious, symmetrical, and pretty. 

Let us trace for a moment the gradual develop- 
ment of this geographical mythology. 

Starting with the notion of the world as a disc, or 
a ball, the centre of the universe, round which moved 
six celestial circles, of the Meridian, the Equator, 
the Ecliptic, the two Tropics, and the Horizon, the 
Arab philosophers on the side of the earth's surface 
worked out a doctrine of a Cupola or Summit of the 
world, and on the side of the heavens a pseudo- 
science of the Anoua or Settings of the Constellations, 
connected with the twelve Pillars of the Zodiac 
and the twenty-eight Mansions of the Moon. 

With Arabic astrology we are not here concerned ; 
it is only worth noting in this connection as the 
possible source of early Christian knowledge of the 
Southern Cross and other stars famous in the story 
of exploration, such as Dante shows in the first 
canto of his Purgatorio. But the geographical doc- 
trines of Islam, compounded from the Hebrew Pen- 
tateuch and the theoretical parts of Ptolemy, had 
a more immediate and reactionary effect on knowl- 
edge. The symmetrical Greek divisions of land into 
seven zones or climates ; and of the world's surface,* 

* In which the habitable quarter of the world, situated mainly in 
the Northern Hemisphere, was just about twice as long as it was 

8 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

into three parts water and one part terra firma\ 
the Indian fourfold arrangement of " Romeland " 
and the East ; the similar fourfold Chinese parti- 
tion of China, India, Persia, and Tartary : all these 
reappeared confusedly in Arabic geography. From 
India and the Sanscrit " Lanka/' they seem to 
have got their first start on the myth of Odjein, 
Aryn, or Arim, " the World's Summit " ; from 
Ptolemy the sacred number of 360 degrees of longi- 
tude was certainly derived, beautifully correspond- 
ing to the days of the year, and neatly divided into 
1 80 of land or habitable earth and 180 of sea, or 
unharvested desert. With the seven climates they 
made correspond the great Empires of the world 
chief among which they reckoned the Caliphate (or 
Bagdad), China, Rome, Turkestan, and India. 

The sacred city of Odjein had been the centre of 
most of the earlier Oriental systems ; in the Arabic 
form of Arim (" The Cupola of the Earth "), it be- 
came the fixed point round which circled mediaeval 
theories of the world's shape. " Somewhere in the 
Indian Ocean between Comorin and Madagascar/* 
became the compromise when the mountain could 
not be found off any of the known coast-lines ; it 
was mixed up with notions of the Roc, and the 
Moon Mountains in Africa, of the Magnet Island and 
of the Eastern Kingdom made out of one vast pearl ; 
and even in Roger Bacon it serves as an algebraic 
sign for a mathematical centre of the world. 

The enlargement of knowledge, though forcing 
upon Arabic science a conviction of Ptolemy's mis- 
take in over-extending the limits of the world known 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 9 

to him, only led to the invention of a scholastic dis- 
tinction between the real and the traditional East and 
West, while the confusion was made perfect by the 
travestied history always so popular among Orien- 
tals. The " Gades of Alexander and Hercules," the 
farthest points east and west, were named after the 
mythical conquests of the real Iskander and the 
mythical hero of Greeks and Phoenicians. Arim in 
the middle, with the pillars of Hercules and Alexan- 
der, and the north and south poles at equal distance 
from it the centre and the four corners of the world 
as neatly fixed as geometry could define this was 
the map, first of the Arabs, and then of their Chris- 
tian scholars. 

To form any idea of the complete spell thus cast 
over thought both in Islam and Christendom, we 
may look at the words of European scholars of the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, living far from 
Islam, long after its intellectual glory had begun to 
decay, and at a time when Christian scholastic phi- 
losophy had reached an independent position. Ge- 
rard of Cremona and Adelard of Bath (the translator 
of the great Arabic geographer, Mohammed Al-Kha- 
rizmy) in the twelfth century, Roger Bacon and Al- 
bertus Magnus in the later thirteenth, are all as clear 
about their geographical postulates as about their 
theological or ethical rules. And what concerns us 
here is that they exactly reflect the mind of the 
Arabic science or pseudo-science of the time just 
preceding, so that their words may represent to us 
the state of Mohammedan thought between the 
eighth and twelfth centuries, between the writers at 

io Prince Henry the Navigator. 

the Court of Caliph Almamoun (813-833) and Edrisi 
at the Court of King Roger of Sicily (1150). 

(r.) Adelard, summarising Mohammed Al-Khar- 
izmy with the results of his Paris education, tells us 
of the Arabic " Examination of planets and of time, 
starting from the centre of the world, called Arim, 
from which place to the four ends of the earth the 
distance is equal, viz., ninety degrees, answering to 
the fourth part of the world's circumference. It is 
tedious and unending to attempt to place all the 
countries of the world and to fix all the marks of 
time. So the meridian is taken as the measure of 
the latter and Arim of the former, and from this 
starting-point it is not hard to fix other countries." 
"Arim," he concludes, "is under the equator, at the 
point where there is no latitude/' and he plainly im- 
plies that there were then existing among the Arabs 
tables calculating all the chief places of every coun- 
try from the meridian of Arim. 

(2.) Gerard of Cremona, who, though for some 
time a resident at Toledo, is essentially an Italian, 
tells us about the " Middle of the World/* from 
which longitudes were calculated, " called Arim," 
and "said to be in India," whose longitude from 
west to east or from cast to west is ninety degrees. 

In his Theory of the Planets Gerard tells us still 
more wonderful things. Arim was a geographical 
centre known and used by Hermes Trismegistus and 
by Ptolemy, as well as by the great Arab geogra- 
phers ; Alexander of Macedon marched just as far 
to the east of Arim as Hercules to the west ; both 
reached the encircling ocean, and accordingly "Arim 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers, n 

is equidistant from both the Gades, 90 degrees ; like- 
wise from each pole, north and south, the same, 90 
degrees." This all recurs in the tables of Alphonso 
the Wise of Castille about A.D. 1260, and two 
of the greatest of mediaeval thinkers, Albert and 
Roger Bacon, reproduced the essential points of 
this doctrine, its false symmetry, and its balance 
of the true and the traditional, with variations of 
their own. 

(3.) Albert the Great, Albertus Magnus, second 
only to Aquinas among the Continental Schoolmen, 
in his View of Astronomy, repeats Adelard upon the 
question of Arim, " where there is no latitude," 
while (4) Roger Bacon discusses not only the true 
and the traditional East and West, but even a two- 
fold Arim, one " under the solstice, the other under 
the equinoctial zone." Arim he finds not to be in 
the centre of the real world, but only of the tradi- 
tional. In another passage of the Opus Ma/us, 
Bacon^our first English worker in the exact sciences, 
allows the world-summit not to be exactly 90 de- 
grees from the east, although so placed by mathe- 
maticians. Yet there is no contradiction, he urges, 
because the men of theory are " speaking of the 
habitable world known to them, according to the 
true understanding of latitude and longitude," and 
this " true understanding " is " not as great as has 
been realised in travel by Pliny and others." "The 
longitude of the habitable world is more than half of 
the whole circuit." This, reproduced in the Imago 
Mundi of Cardinal Peter Ailly (1410), fell into the 
hands of Columbus and helped to fix his doctrines 

1 2 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

of the shape of the world (" in the form of a pear ") 
of the terrestrial paradise, and of the earth's circum- 
ference, so enormously contracted as practically to 
abolish the Pacific."* 

To return to the Arabs : We have seen how they 
not merely followed Greek theories, which their own 
experience as conquerors in the Further East went 
to discredit, but, in the great outlines of geography, 
added to earlier errors, put prejudice in the place of 
knowledge, and handed on to Christendom a half- 
fanciful map of the world. It only remains for us 
to illustrate their leading fault, of a too vivid fancy, 
with a few details on minor points. 

(i.) Ptolemy's " Habitable Quarter" of the world, 
amounting to just half the longitude of the globe, 
was literally accepted by the Moslem world, as it 
accepted the Pentateuch, from the moment when it 
began its study of science at the Court of Alrna- 
moun (813-833). But, as the conquests of the 
Caliphs disclosed districts in the east far beyond 
Ptolemy's limits, it was necessary, in case of keep- 
ing his data for the whole, to compress the part 
which alone was to be found fully described in his 
chart : " On the west, unhappily, there were no 
countries newly discovered to compensate for this 

* In Columbus* letters to Queen Isabella in 1498, we catch, as it 
were, the last echo of the Arabic melange of Moses and Greek geog- 
raphy, along with the results of Roger Bacon's corrections of Ptolemy. 
** The Old Hemisphere," he writes " which has for its centre the isle 
of Arim, is spherical, but the other (new) Hemisphere has the form 
of the lower half of a pear. Just one hundred leagues west of the 
Azores the earth rises at the Equator and the temperature grows 
keener. The summit is over against the mouth of the Orinoco," 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 13 

abridgment." By Massoudy's time, by the tenth 
\ century, fact and theory were thus hopelessly at 
^ variance. 

^ (2.) On the shape of Africa, the mass of Arabic 

opinion confirmed Ptolemy, but among the more 

^ enlightened there is traceable from Massoudy's time 

^"a tendency either to react towards Strabo's partly 

agnostic position, or to invent some new theory 

rather more in harmony with the known facts. 

^ That is, either their later map-makers cut off Africa 

O at Cape Non or Bojador and Cape Guardafui, and 

gave away the rest to the " Green Sea of Darkness," 

or, like Massoudy, they sketched a great Southern 

^ Continent, divided from Africa by a narrow channel, 

^ which connected the Western Ocean with the Sea 

? of Habasch of Abyssinia or India. In either case 

Africa was left an island. 

(3.) The words " Gog and Magog*' from Jeremiah, 
, describing the nomades of Central Asia, appear in 
^ the Koran as Yadjoudj and Madjoudj. The com- 
^- plete story, in the tenth century and in Edrisi's 
^ day, connects them with Alexander the Great, 
who is also found in the Koran as Doul-Carnain, 
and with the Wall of China. "When the Con- 
queror/' said the Arabs, " reached the place near 
where the sun rose, he was implored to build a 
wall to shut off the marauders of Yadjoudj and 
Madjoudj from the rich countries of the South." 
So he built a rampart of iron across the pass by 
which alone Touran joined Iran, and henceforth 
Turks and Tartars were kept outside. Till the 
Arabs reached the Caucasus, they generally sup 

14 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

posed this to answer to Alexander's wall; when 
facts dispelled this theory, the unknown Ural or 
Altai Mountains served instead ; finally, as the Mos- 
lems became masters of Central Asia, the Wall 
of China, beyond the Gobi desert, alone satisfied 
the conditions of shadowy but historic grandeur, 
beyond all practical danger of verification. 

(4.) In striking contrast with the steady advance 
of Arabic exploration and trade in the Eastern Sea 
is the Moslem horror of the Western Ocean beyond 
Europe and Africa, the " Green Sea of Darkness " or 
the Atlantic. And what we have to note is that they 
imparted much of this paralysing cowardice to the 
Christian nations. Only the Northmen of Scandi- 
navia, living a life apart, and forced to make their 
way over the wild North Sea, were untouched by this 
southern superstition, and ventured across the ocean 
by the Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland, to the coast 
of Labrador. 

The doctors of the Koran indeed thought that a 
man mad enough to embark for the unknown, even 
on a coasting voyage, should be deprived of civil 
rights. Ibn Said goes further, and says no one has 
ever done this: "whirlpools always destroy any 
adventurer/' As late as the generation immediately 
before Henry the Navigator, about A.D. 1390, an- 
other light of Moslem science declared the Atlantic 
to be " boundless, so that ships dare not venture out 
of sight of land, for even if the sailors knew the 
direction of the winds, they would not know whither 
those winds would carry them, and as there is no 
inhabited country beyond, they would run a risk 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 15 

of being lost in mist, fog, and vapour. The limit 
of the West is the Atlantic Ocean.'* 

This was the final judgment of the Arabic race 
and its subject allies upon the western limits of 
the world, and in two ways they helped to fix this 
belief, derived from the timid coasting-traders of the 
Roman Empire on Greek and Latin Christendom. 
First, the Spanish Caliphate cut off all access to 
the Western Sea beyond the Bay of Biscay, from the 
eighth to the twelfth centuries. Not till the capture 
of Lisbon in 1147, could Christian enterprise on this 
side gain any basis, or starting-point. Not till the con- 
quest of the Algarve in the extreme south-west of the 
peninsula, at the end of the twelfth century, was this 
enterprise free to develop itself. Secondly, in the 
darkest ages of Christian depression, the seventh, the 
eighth, the ninth, the tenth centuries, when only the 
brief age of Charlemagne offered any chance of an 
independent and progressive Catholic Empire in the 
west, the Arabs became recognised along with the 
Byzantines as the main successors of Greek culture. 
The science, the metaphysic, the abstract ideas of 
these centuries came into Germany, France, and 
Italy from Cordova and from Bagdad, as much as 
from Byzantium. And on questions like the South 
Atlantic or Indian Ocean, or the shape of Africa, 
where Islam had all the field to itself, and there 
was no positive and earlier discovery which might 
contradict a natural reluctance to test tradition by 
experiment Christendom accepted the Arabic ver- 
dict with deference. 

In the same way, on still more difficult points, 

1 6 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

such as the theory of a canal from the Caspian to the 
Black Sea, or from the Caspian to the Arctic circle, 
or from the Black Sea to the Baltic, Paris and Rome 
and Bologna and Oxford accepted the Arabic de- 

It has been necessary for us to attend to the de- 
fects of Arabic geography, in order to understand 
how in the long Saracen control of the world's trade 
routes and of geographical tradition, science and sea- 
manship were so little advanced. Between Ptolemy 
and Henry of Portugal, between the second and the 
fifteenth centuries, the only great extension of men's 
knowledge of the world was : (i) in the extreme 
north, where the semi-Christian, semi-Pagan Vikings 
reached perhaps as far as the present site of New 
York and founded, on another side, the Mediaeval 
Kingdom of Russia ; (2) on the south-east coast of 
Africa, from Cape Guardafui to Madagascar, which 
was opened up by the trading interest of the Emosaid 
family (800-1300) ; (3) in the far east, in Central and 
Further Asia, by the discoveries of Marco Polo and 
the Friar preachers following on the tracks of the 
earlier Moslem travellers. The first of these was a 
Northern secret, soon forgotten, or an abortive de- 
velopment, cut short by the Tartars; the second was 
an Arabic secret, jealously guarded as a commercial 
right ; the third alone added much direct new knowl- 
edge to the main part of the civilised world. 

But throughout their period of commercial rule 
from the eighth to the twelfth centuries, the Arabs 
took a keen interest in land traffic, conquest, and ex- 
ploration. They were of small account at sea ; it 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers, ij 

took them some time to turn to their own purposes 
Hippalus' discovery (in the second century A.D.) of 
the monsoon in the Indian Ocean ; but, on land, 
Moslem travellers and writers generally following 
in the wake of their armies, but sometimes pressing 
on ahead of them did not a little to enlarge the 
horizon of the Mohammedan world, though it was 
not till Marco Polo and the Franciscan missionaries 
of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, that 
Christian Europe shared in this gain. 

As the early Caliphs conquered, they made sur- 
veys of their new dominions. Thus after Tarik 
and Mousa had overrun Spain, Walid at Damascus 
required from them an account of the land and its 
resources. The universal obligation of the Mecca 
pilgrimage compelled every Moslem to travel once 
in his life ; and many an Arab, after the Caliphate 
was settled in power from the Oxus to the Pyrenees, 
journeyed to and fro with the joy of a master going 
over vast estates, shewing his dreaded turban to 
subjects of every nation. 

This, however, was not geographical science, or 
even pseudo-science. Before Mohammed the Arabs 
had possessed some knowledge of the stars and used 
it for astrology ; but it was at the Court of Alma- 
moun (813-833) that their inquiring spirits first set 
themselves to answer the great question of geography 
Where ? Through the ninth and tenth centuries 
there arose a succession of travellers and thinkers 
who, with all their wild dreamings, preserved the 
best results of Greek maps and would have made 
much greater advances but for their helplessness in 

1 8 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

original work. As they could not recast Aristotle 
in philosophy, so they could not with all their new 
knowledge of the Further East recast the geography 
of Ptolemy and Strabo. 

A few great ages, the age for instance of Alma- 
moun in Bagdad (A.D. 830), of Mahmoud in Ghazneh 
(A.D. 1000), of Abderrahman III. in Cordova (A.D. 
950), give us the history of Arabic geography. 

Beginning in the latter years of the eighth century, 
Moslem science was reformed and organised, in the 
New Empire, by the patronage of the Caliphs of the 
ninth. Itineraries of victorious generals, plans and 
tables prepared by governors of provinces, and a 
freshly acquired knowledge of Greek and Indian and 
Persian thought, made up the subject-matter of 
study. The barbarism of the first believers was 
passing away, and Mohammed's words were recalled : 
"Seek knowledge, even in China." By the end of 
the eighth century Ptolemy's Geography and the 
now lost work of Marinus of Tyre had already been 
translated. Almamoun drew to his Court all the chief 
" mathematicians " or philosophers of Islam, such as 
Mohammed Al-Kharizrny, Alfergany, and Solyman 
the merchant. Further he built two observatories, 
one at Bagdad, one at Damascus, and procured a 
chart fixing the latitude and longitude of every 
place known to him or his savants. Al-Kharizmy 
interpolated the new Arabic Ptolemy with additions 
from the Sanscrit, and made some use of Indian trigo- 
nometry. Alfergany wrote the first Arab treatise 
on the Astrolabe and adopted the Greek division of 
the seven Climates to the new learning. Solyman, at 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 19 

the time of closest Intercourse between China, India, 
and the Caliphate, travelled in every country of the 
Further East, sailed in the " Sea of Pitchy Darkness " 
on the east coast of Asia, and by his voyages be- 
came the prototype of Sinbad the Sailor. 

The impulse given by Almamoun did not die with 
him. About 850 Alkendy made a fresh version of 
Ptolemy ; as early as 840 the Caliph Vatek-Billah 
sent to explore the countries of Central Asia, and 
his results have been preserved by Edrisi. A few 
years later (c. 890) Ibn-Khordadbeh, " Son of the 
Magi," described the principal trade-routes, the In- 
dian by the Red Sea from Djeddah to Scinde, the 
Russian by the Volga and North Caspian, the Per- 
sian by way of Balkh to China. It was by this last 
that some have thought the envoys of the English 
King Alfred went in 883, till they turned south to 
seek India and the Christians of San Thome. 

The early scientific movement in Islam reached its 
height in Albateny and Massoudy at the beginning 
of the tenth century. The former determined, more 
exactly than before, various problems of astronomi- 
cal geography.* The latter visited every country 
from Further India to Spain ; even China and 
Madagascar seem to have been within the compass of 
his later travels ; and his voyages in the Indian Ocean 
bring us to the real Sinbad Saga of the tenth century. 

Sinbad, as his story appears In the Arabian Nights* 
has been traced to an original in the Indian tales of 
The Seven Sages, in the voyages of the age of Chos- 

* " The Obliquity of the Ecliptic, the Eccentricity of the Sun, the 
Precession of the Equinoxes." 

2O Prince Henry the Navigator. 

roes Nushirvan or of Haroun-Al-Rashid, but the tale 
appears to be an Arabic original, the real account, 
with a little more of mystery and exaggeration than 
usual, of the ninth- and tenth-century travellers, from 
Solyman to Massoudy, reproduced in form of a 
series of novels.* 

With Massoudy begins also the formal discussion 
of geographical problems affecting Islam. Was the 
Caspian a land-locked sea? Did it connect with the 
Euxine? Did either or both of these join the Arctic 
Ocean? Was Africa an island? If so, was there 
also an unknown Southern Continent? What was 
the shape of South-Eastern Asia ? Was Ptolemy's 
longitude to be wholly accepted, and if not, how 
was it to be bettered ? By a use of Strabo and of 
Albateny rather than of Ptolemy, Massoudy arrived 
at fairly accurate and very plausible results. His 
chief novelties were the long river channel from the 
Sea of Azov to the North Sea, and the strait be- 
tween South Africa and the shadowy Southern Con- 
tinent. On his scheme the Indian Ocean, or Sea of 
Habasch, contains most of the water surface of the 
world, and the Sea of Aral appears for the first time 
in Moslem geography. Lastly his account of the 
Arab coasting voyages from the Persian Gulf to 
Socotra and Madagascar proves, implicitly, that as 
yet there was no use of the compass. 

Massoudy cut down the girth of the world even 
more than Ptolemy. The latter had left an ocean to 

* ** With the Sinbad story is connected the historical extension of 
the Arab settlements in the East African coast through the enterprise 
of the Emosaid family." 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 2 1 

the west of Africa : the former made the Canaries or 
Fortunate Islands, the limit of the known Western 
world, abut upon India, the limit of the Eastern. 

The first age of Arabic geography ends with Mas- 
soudy, its greatest name, in the middle of the tenth 
century. The second age is summed up in the work 
of the Eastern sage Albyrouny and of Edrisi, the 
Arabic Ptolemy (A.D. 1099-1154), who found a home 
at the Christian Court of Roger of Sicily. In the 
far East and West alike, in Spain and Morocco, in 
Khorassan and India, Moslem science was now 
driven to take refuge among strangers on the decay 
of the Caliphates of Bagdad and Cordova. The 
Ghaznevides Mahmoud and Massoud, in the first 
half of the eleventh century, attracted to their 
Court not only Firdusi and Avicenna, but Alby- 
rouny, whose " Canon " became a text-book of 
Mohammedan science, and who, for the range of his 
knowledge and the trained subtlety of his mind, 
stands without a rival for his time.* The Spanish 
school, as resulting directly in Edrisi, half Moslem, 
half Christian, like his teachers, is of still more 
interest. One of its first traces may be found in the 
Latin translation of the Arab Almanack made by 
Bishop Harib of Cordova in 961. It was dedicated 
and presented to Caliph Hakem one of our clearest 
proofs of the conscious interworking of Catholic and 
Mahometan philosophy in the age of Pope Sylvester 

* The school of Persian mathematicians who produced the maps of 
Alestakhry and Ibn Haukal, and the book of latitudes and longitudes, 
ascribed by Abulfeda to Alfaraby the Turk, was the immediate des- 
cendant of Albyrouny. 

22 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

II. and of our ownSt.Dunstan. A century later, on 
the recapture of Toledo by Alfonso VI. (1084), an 
observatory was built, served by Jews and Moslems, 
who had been steadily producing, through the whole 
of the eleventh century, astronomical and geographi- 
cal tables and dictionaries. A whole tribe of com- 
mentators on place-names, on the climates and 
constellations, and on geographical instruments was 
at work in this last age of the Spanish Caliphate, 
and their results are brought together by Abou Hamid 
of Granada and by Edrisi. 

Born at Ceuta in 1099, this great geographer 
travelled through Spain, France, the Western Medi- 
terranean, and North Africa before settling at the 
Norman Court of Palermo. Roger, the most civil- 
ised prince in Christendom, the final product of the 
great race of Robert Guiscard and William the 
Conqueror, valued Edrisi at his proper worth, re- 
fused to part with him, and employed men in 
every part of the world to collect materials for his 
study. Thus the Moor gained, not only for the 
Moslem world but for Southern Europe as well, an 
approximate knowledge even of Norway, Sweden, 
Finland, and the coasts of the White Sea. His work, 
dedicated to Roger and called after him, Al-Rojary, 
was rewarded with a peerage, and it was as a Sicilian 
Count that he finished his Celestial Sphere and Ter- 
restrial Disc of silver, on which " was inscribed all 
the circuit of the known world and all the rivers 

Each of his great Arabic predecessors, along with 
Bratosthenes ? Ptolemy, and Strabo ? 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 23 

his system the result of fifteen years of abstract 
study, following some thirty of practical activity in 

A special note may be made on Edrisi's account of 
the voyage of the Lisbon "Wanderers" ("Maghru- 
rins") some time before 1147, the date of the final 
Christian capture of the Portuguese capital. For 
this is the earliest recorded voyage, since the rise of 
Islam, definitely undertaken on the Western Ocean 
to learn what was on it and what were its limits. 
The Wanderers, Edrisi tells us, were eight in num- 
ber, all related to one another. They built a trans- 
port boat, took on board water and provisions for 
many months, and started with the first east wind. 
After eleven days, they reached a sea whose thick 
waters exhaled a fetid odour, concealed numerous 
reefs, and were but faintly lighted. Fearing for 
their lives, they changed their course, steered 
southwards twelve days, and so reached an island, 
possibly Madeira, which they called El Ghanam 
from the sheep found there, without shepherd or 
anyone to tend them. On landing, they found a 
spring of running water and some wild figs. They 
killed some sheep, but found the flesh so bitter that 
they could not eat it, and only took the skins. Sail- 
ing south twelve more days, they found an island 
with houses and cultivated fields, but as they neared 
it they were surrounded, made prisoners, and carried 

* The world he divided by climates in the Greek manner, taking no 
account of political divisions, or of those resting on language or re- 
ligion. Each climate was further subdivided into ten sections. la* 
the shape of Africa he followed Ptolemy, 

24 Prince Henry tke Navigator. 

in their own boats to a city on the sea-shore, to a 
house where were men of tall stature and women 
of great beauty. Here they stayed three days, and 
on the fourth came a man, the King's interpreter, 
who spoke Arabic, and asked them who they were 
and what they wanted. They replied they were 
seeking out the wonders of the ocean and its limits. 
At this the King laughed heartily, and said to the 
interpreter: "Tell them my father once ordered 
some of his slaves to venture out on that sea and 
after sailing across the breadth of it for a month, 
they found themselves deprived of the light of the 
sun and returned without having learnt anything." 
Then the Wanderers were sent back to their prison 
till a west wind arose, when they were blindfolded 
and put on board a boat, and after three days 
reached the mainland of Africa. Here they were 
put ashore, with their hands tied, and so left. They 
were released by the Berbers, and after their reap- 
pearance in Spain, a " street at the foot of the hot 
bath in Lisbon," concludes Edrisi, " took the name 
of Street of the Wanderers." 

On the other extremity of the Moslem world, on 
the south-east coast of Africa, there was more real 
progress. By Edrisi's day that important addition 
of Arabic travellers and merchants to the geographi- 
cal knowledge of the world, by the remarkable trade- 
ventures of the Emosaids, had been already made. 

It had taken long in the making. 

About A.D. 742, ten years after the battle of Tours, 
the Emosaid family, descended from AH, cousin and 
son-in-law of Mahomet, tried to make Said, theif 


i- o 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 25 

clan-chieftain, All's great-grandson, Caliph at Damas- 
cus. The attempt was foiled, and the whole tribe 
fled, sailed down the Red Sea and African coast, and 
established themselves as traders In the Sea of India. 
First of all, Socotra seems to have been their mart 
and capital, but before the end of the tenth century 
they had founded merchant colonies at Melinda, 
Mombasa, and Mozambique, which, in their turn, 
led to settlements on the opposite coasts of Asia. 
Thus the trade of the Indian Ocean was secured for 
Islam, the first Moslem settlements arose in Malabar, 
and when the Portuguese broke into this mare 
clausum, in 1497-8, they found a belt of " Moorish " 
coast towns, from Magadoxo to Sofala, controlling 
both the Indian and the inland African trades, as 
Ibn Batuta had found in 1330. 

By Edrisi's day, moreover, the steady persistence 
and self-evident results of Arabic overland explora- 
tion had become recognised by a sort of " Traveller's 
Doctorate/' It was not enough for the highest 
knowledge to study the Koran, and the Sunna, and 
the Greek philosophers at home; for a perfect edu- 
cation, a man must have travelled at least through 
the length and breadth of Islam. All the successors 
of Edrisi, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, 
shew this mingling of science and religion, of practical 
and speculative energy. 

Tradition still governed Moslem thought, but there 
had come into being a sort of half-acknowledged ap- 
pendix to tradition, made up of real observations on 
men and things. And in these observations, geo 
graphical interest was the main factor, 

26 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

The Life of Al Heravy of Herat (1173-1215), the 
"Doctor Ubiquitus" of Islam in the age of the 
Crusades, gives us a picture of another Massoudy. 
The friend of the Emperor Manuel Comnenus, the 
" first man among Christians/' Heravy seems able in 
his own person to break down the partition wall of 
religious feud by the common interest of science. In 
1192 he was offered the patronage of the Crusading 
princes, and Richard Coeur de Lion begged for the 
favour of an interview, and begged in vain. Heravy, 
who had been on one of his exploring journeys, 
angrily refused to see the King whose men had 
broken his quiet and wasted his time. Before his 
death, he had run over the world (men said) from 
China to the Pyrenees and from Abyssinia to the 
Danube, "scribbling his name on every wall," and 
his survey of the Eastern Empire was the single 
matter in which Turks and " Romans " made com- 
mon cause, for Greeks and Latins at Byzantium 
alike read Heravy, like a Christian doctor. Another 
example of the same catholic spirit is u Yacout the 
Roman," * whose Dictionary, finished in the earlier 
half of the thirteenth century, was a summary of 
geographical advance since Edrisi, like the similar 
work of Ibn Said, of the same period. 

But as a matter of fact, the balance both of 
knowledge and power was now shifting from Islam 

* Yacout *' the ruby," originally a Greek slave, who made a brave 
but fruitless attempt to change his name into Yacoub or Jacob, be- 
came one of the greatest of Arab encyclopaedists, was checked by the 
hordes of Genghiz-Khan in his exploration of Central Asia, and 

The Greek and Arabic Geographers. 27 

to Christendom. The most daring and successful 
travellers after the rise of the Mongols were the 
Venetian Marco Polo and the Friar Preachers who 
revived Chinese Christianity (1270-1350) ; Madeira 
and the Canaries (off Moslem Africa) were finally 
rediscovered not by Arabic enterprise, but by the 
Italian Malocello in 1270, by the English Macham in 
the reign of our Edward III., and by Portuguese ships 
under Genoese captains in 1341 ; in 1291 the Vivaldi 
ventured beyond Cape Bojador, where no Moor had 
ever been, except by force of storm, as in the doubt- 
ful story of Ibn Fatimah, who " first saw the White 
Headland/' Cape Blanco, between Cape Bojador and 
Cape Verde. 

In the fourteenth century the map of Edrisi was 
superseded by the new Italian plans and coast-charts, 
or Portolani. As the Moslem world fell into political 
disorder, its science declined. " Judicial astrology " 
seemed gaining a stronger and stronger hold over 
Islam, and the irruption of the Turks gradually re- 
sulted in the ruin of all the higher Moslem culture. 
Superstition and barbarism shared the honour and 
the spoils of this victory. 

But two great names close the five hundred years 
of Arab learning. 

i. Ibn Batuta (c. 1330), who made himself as much 
at home In China as in his native Morocco, is the 
last of Mohammedan travellers of real importance. 
Though we have only abridgments of his work left 
to us, Colonel Yule is well within his rights in his 
deliberate judgment, " that it must rank at least as 
one of the four chief guide books of the Middle 

28 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

Ages/' along with the Book of Ser Marco Polo and 
the journals of the two Friar-travellers, Friar Odoric 
and Friar William de Rubruquis. 

2. With Abulfeda the Eastern school of Moslem 
geography comes to an end, as the Western does 
with Ibn Batuta. In the early years of the four- 
teenth century he rewrote the " story and descrip- 
tion of the Land of Islam," with a completeness 
quite encyclopaedic. But his work has all the failings 
of a compilation, however careful, in that, or any, age. 
t is based upon information, not upon inspection ; 
it is in no sense original. As it began in imitation, 
so it ended. If it rejects Ptolemy, it is only to 
follow Strabo or someone else ; on all the mathe- 
matical and astronomical data its doctrine is accord- * 
ing to the Alexandrians of twelve hundred years 
before, and this last prtcis of the science of a great 
race and a great religion can only be understood 
in the light of its model in Greek geography. 


CIRCA 333~ 86 7" 

|HE special interest of the life and 
work of Henry the Navigator (1394- 
1460) lies in the relation it bears to 
the general expansion of Europe and 
Christendom an expansion that had 
been slowly gathering strength since 
the eleventh century. But even before the tide 
had turned in the age of Hildebrand and the 
First Crusade, even from the time that Constantine 
founded the Christian Empire of Rome, the Chris- 
tian Capital on the Bosphorus, and the State 
Church of the Western World, pilgrimage, trade, 
conquest, and colonisation had been successively 
calling out the energies of the moving races, " the 
motor muscles" of Europe. It is through the 
" generous Henry, Prince of Portugal," that this ac- 
tivity is brought to its third and triumphant stage 
to the time of Columbus and Da Gama and Magel- 
l an> k u t it is only by tracing the earlier progress of 
that outward movement, which has made Europe 
the ruling civilisation of the world, that we can 


jo Prince Henry the Navigator. [333- 

fairly grasp the import of that transition in which 
Henry is the hero. 

More than any other single man he is the author of 
the discovering movement of the fifteenth, sixteenth, 
and seventeenth centuries, and by this movement 
India has been conquered, America repeopled, the 
world made clear, and the civilisation which the Ro- 
man Empire left behind has conquered or utterly 
overshadowed every one of its old rivals and superi- 
ors Islam, India, China, Tartary. 

But before the fifteenth century, before the birth 
of Prince Henry, Christendom, Greek and Latin, 
was at best only one of the greater civilising and 
conquering forces struggling for mastery ; before the 
age of the Crusades, before the eleventh century, it 
was plainly weaker than the Moslem powers ; it 
seemed unable to fight against Slav or Scandina- 
vian Heathendom ; it was only saved by distance 
from becoming a province of China ; India, the 
world's great prize, was cut off from it by the 
Arabs. Even before the rise of Islam, under Con- 
stantine or Theodosius or Justinian, the Church- 
State of the Byzantine Caesars, though then ruling 
in almost every province of Trajan's empire, was in a 
splendid but sure decline from the exhaustion of the 
southern races. Our story then begins naturally with 
the worst time and climbs up for a thousand years, 
from the Heathen and Mohammedan conquests of 
the fifth and seventh centuries, to the reversal of that 
judgment, of those conquests, in the fifteenth. The 
expansion of Europe is going on all this time, but 
at our beginning, in the years before and after Pope 

S673 Exploration before Prince Henry. 3 1 

Gregory the Great, even the legacy of Greece and 
Rome, in wide knowledge of the world and practical 
exploring energy, seemed to have passed from sight. 

And in the decline of the old Empire, while Con- 
stantine and Justinian are said to receive and ex 
change embassies with the Court of China, there is 
no real extension of geographical knowledge or out- 
look. Christian enterprise in this field is mainly one 
of pilgrimage, and the pilgrims only cease to be 
important when the Northmen, first Heathen, then 
Christian, begin to lead, in a very different manner, 
the expansion of Europe. Into this folk-wandering 
of the Vikings, the first great outward movement of 
our Europe in the Middle Ages, is absorbed the 
reviving energy of trade, as well as the ever-growing 
impulse of pilgrimage. The Vikings are the highest 
type of explorers ; they do not merely find out new 
lands and trade with them, but conquer and colonise 
them. They extend not merely the knowledge, but 
the whole state and being of Europe, to a New 

Lastly, the partial activity of commerce and reli- 
gion made universal and " political " by the leading 
western race for itself only is taken up by all 
Christendom in the Crusades, borrowed in idea 
from Spain, but borrowed with the spirit of the 
Norse rovers, and made universal for the Latin 
world, for the whole federation of Rome. In the 
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries we have 
the preparation for the discovery and colonisation of 
the outside world by Europeans in the fifteenth, six- 
teenth, and seventeenth centuries of the Christian era 

3 1 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333- 

From the conversion of Constantine to the Refor- 
mation the story of Christendom is unbroken ; the 
later Roman Empire is the Church-State of a 
Christian Prince, as modern Europe is the Church- 
State of a nominally Christian society. Mediaeval 
Europe thought of itself as nothing but the old 
world-state under religion ; from Spain to Russia 
men were living under a Holy Roman Empire of an 
Italian, or Teutonic, or Byzantine, or independent 
type. England and Russia were not parts of the 
Germanic revival of Charlemagne, but they had just 
the same two elements dominant in their life ; the 
classical tradition and the Christian Church. 

And so throughout this time, the expansion of 
this society by whatever name we may call it, 
discovery, exploration, geographical knowledge has 
a continuous history. But before the rise of Islam, 
in the seventh century, throws Christendom into its 
proper mediaeval life, before the new religion begins 
the really new age, at the end of which lived Henry 
himself, we are too far from our subject to feel, for 
instance in the fourth and fifth-century pilgrims 
and in Cosmas Indicopleustes, anything but a remote 
preparation for Henry's work. It is only with the 
seventh century, and with the time of our own Bede 
and Wilfrid, that the necessary introduction to our 
subject really begins. 

Yet as an illustration of the general idea, that dis- 
covery is an early and natural outlet of any vigorous 
society and is in proportion to the universal activity 
of the State, it is not without interest to note that 
Christian Pilgrimage begins with Constantine. This, 

$671 Pilgrims under the Roman Empire. 33 

the first department of exploring energy, at once 
evidences the new settlement of religion and politics. 
Helena, the Emperor's mother, helped, by her visit 
to Palestine, her church at Bethlehem, and her dis- 
coveries of relics in Jerusalem, to make a ruling 
fashion out of the custom of a few devotees ; and 
eight years after the council of Nicsea, in 333, ap- 
peared the first Christian geography, as a guide-book 
or itinerary, from Bordeaux to the Holy Places of 
Syria, modelled upon the Imperial survey of the 
Antonines. The route followed in this runs by 
North Italy, Aquileia, Sirmium, Constantinople, and 
Asia Minor, and upon the same course thousands of 
nameless pilgrims journeyed in the next three hun- 
dred years, besides some eight or nine who have 
left an account mainly religious in form, but con- 
taining in substance the \videst view of the globe 
then possible among Westerns. 

Most of the pilgrims, like Jerome's friend Paula, 
Bishop Eucherius, and Melania, tread the same path 
and stop at the same points, but three or four of 
them distinctly add some fresh knowledge to the 
ordinary results. 

St. Silvia, of Aquitaine (c. 385), not only travels 
through Syria, she visits Lower Egypt and Stony or 
Sinaitic Arabia, and even Edessa in Northern Meso- 
potamia, on the very borders of hostile and heathen 
Persia. "To see the monks " she wanders through 
Osrhoene, comes to Haran, near which was "the 
home of Abraham and the farm of Laban and the 
well of Rachel," to the environs of Nisibis and Ur 
of the Chaldees, lost to the Roman Empire since 

34 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333- 

Julian's defeat; thence by " Padan-aram " back to 
Antioch. When crossing the Euphrates the pilgrims 
saw the river " rush down in a torrent like the Rhone, 
but greater," and on the way home by the great 
military road, then untravelled by Saracens, between 
Tarsus and the Bosphorus, Silvia makes a passing 
note on the strength and brigand habits of the 
Isaurian mountaineers, who In the end saved Chris- 
tendom from the very Arabs with whom our pilgrim 
couples them. 

Again, Cosmas Indicopleustes, in the time of Jus- 
tinian, is at the end, as Silvia is at the beginning, of 
a definite period, the period of the Christian empire 
of Rome, while still "Csesarean" and not merely 
Byzantine, "patrician" and not papal, " consular " 
and not Carolingian. 

And contemporary with Cosmas are two of the 
chief among the earlier or primitive pilgrims, 
Theodosius and Antoninus the Martyr. The first- 
named indulges in a few excursions in fancybe- 
yond his known ground of Palestine, going as far 
east as Susa and Babylon, " where no one can live 
for the serpents and hippo-centaurs,'' and south to 
the Red Sea and its two arms, " of which the eastern 
is called the Persian Gulf," and the western or 
Arabian runs up to the " thirteen cities of Arabia 
destroyed by Joshua," but, for the rest, his knowl- 
edge is not extensive or peculiar. Antoninus of 
Placentia, on the other hand, is very interesting, a 
sort of older Mandeville, who mixes truth and its 
opposite in fairly even proportions and with a sort 
of resolute partiality to favourite legends. 

8671 Pilgrims under the Roman Empire. 35 

He tells us how Tripolis has been ruined by the 
late earthquake (July 9, 551) ; how silk and various 
woven stuffs are sold at Tyre ; how the pilgrims 
scratched their names on the relics shewn In Cana of 
Galilee "and here I, sinner that I am, did inscribe 
the names of my parents " ; how Bethshan, the 
metropolis of Galilee, " is placed on a hill," though 
really In the plain ; how the Samaritans hate Chris- 
tians and will hardly speak to them ; " and beware of 
spitting In their country, for they will never forgive 
It " ; how " the dew comes down upon Hermon the 
Little, as David says, *The dew of Hermon that 
fell upon the hill of Zion * " ; how nothing can live 
or even float In the Dead Sea, " but is instantly 
swallowed up " as exact an untruth as was ever 
told by traveller; how the Jordan opens a way for 
pilgrims " and stands up in a heap every year at the 
Epiphany during the baptism of Catechumens, as 
David told, ' The sea saw that and fled, Jordan was 
driven back ' " ; how at Jericho there Is a Holy Field 
" sown by the Lord with his own hand." A report 
had been spread that the salt pillar of Lot's wife had 
been "lessened by licking"; "it was false," said 
Antoninus, the statue was just the same as it had 
always been. 

In Jerusalem the pilgrims first went up the Tower 
of David, " where he sang the Psalter/* and into the 
Basilica of Slon, where among other marvels they 
saw the " Corner-stone that the builders rejected/* 
which gave out a " sound like the murmuring of a 

We come back again to fact with rather a start 

36 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333- 

when told in the next section of the Hospitals for 
3000 sick folk near the Church of St. Mary, close to 
Sion ; then with the footprints and relics of Christ, 
and the miraculous flight of the Column of Scourg- 
ing " carried away by a cloud to Caesarea," we are 
taken through a fresh set of "impressions. 5 * 

The same wild notions of place and time and na- 
ture follow the Martyr through Galilee to Gilboa, 
"where David slew Goliath and Saul died, where no 
dew or rain ever falls, and where devils appear 
nightly, whirled about like fleeces of wool or the 
waves of the sea" to Nazareth, where was the 
"Beam of Christ the Carpenter*' to Elua, where 
fifteen consecrated virgins had tamed a lion and 
trained it to live with them in a cell to Egypt, 
where the Pyramids become for him the " twelve 
Barns of Joseph," for the legend had not yet insisted 
that the actual number should be made to fit the 
text of the seven years of plenty. 

But with all this Antoninus now and then gives us 
glimpses of a larger world. In Jerusalem he meets 
Ethiopians " with nostrils slit and rings about their 
fingers and their feet.*' They were so marked, they 
told him, by the Emperor Trajan " for a sign.'* 

In the Sinai desert he tells us of " Saracen '* beg- 
gars and idolaters ; in the Red Sea ports he sees 
"ships from India'* laden with aromatics; he trav- 
els up the Nile to the Cataracts and describes the 
Nilometer at Assouan, and the crocodiles in the 
river; Alexandria he finds "splendid but frivolous, 
a lover of pilgrims but swarming with heresies.** 

But far more wonderful than the practical jumble 

867] Pilgrims under the Roman Empire. 3 7 

of Antoninus Martyr is the systematic nonsense of 
Cosmas, who invented or worked out a theory and 
scheme of the world, a "Christian topography/* 
which required nothing more than a complete dis- 
use of human reason. His assurance was equal to 
his science. 

It may have been his voyage to India, or his 
monastic profession, or his study of Scripture, or 
something unknown that made him take up the part 
of a Christian Aristotle ; in any case he felt himself 
called into the field to support the cause of St. Au- 
gustine against infidelity, and to refute the " anile 
fable" of the Antipodes. Cosmas referred men back 
to Revelation on such matters, and his system was 
"demonstrated from Scripture, concerning which a 
Christian is not allowed to doubt/' Man by himself 
could not understand the world, but in the Bible it 
was all clear enough. And from the Bible this much 
was beyond dispute. 

The universe is a flat parallelogram ; and its 
length is exactly double of its breadth. In the 
centre of the universe is our world surrounded by 
the ocean, and by an outer world or ring where men 
lived before the Flood. Noah and his Ark came 
over sea from this to the present earth. 

To the north of our world is a great hill, like the 
later Moslem and older Hindu " Cupola of the 
Earth/* which perhaps was Cosmas* own original. 
Round this the sun and moon revolve, making day 
and night as they appear or disappear behind it. 

The sky consists of four walls meeting in the 
"dome of heaven" over the floor on which we live, 

38 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333- 

and this sky is " glued " to the edges of the outer 
world, the world of the Patriarchs. 

But this heaven is also cut in two by the firma- 
ment, lying between our atmosphere and that " New 
Heaven and New Earth wherein dwelleth Right- 
eousness " ; and the floor of this upper world is cov- 
ered by the " waters that be above the firmament " ; 
above this is Paradise, and below the firmament live 
the angels, as "ministers" and "flaming fires'* and 
"servants of God to men/* 

The proofs of this are simple, mainly resting on 
some five texts from the Old Testament and two 
passages of St. Paul. 

First the Book of Genesis declared itself to be the 
" Book of the Generation of the Heaven and the 
Earth " that is, of everything in the heavens and 
the earth. But the " old wives' fable of the An- 
tipodes*' would make the heaven surround and con- 
tain the earth, and God's word would have to be 
changed "These are the generations of the sky." 
For the same truth the twofold and independent 
being of heaven and earth Cosmas quotes the 
additional testimony of Abraham, David, Hosea, 
Isaiah, Zachariah, and Melchisedek, who clenched 
the case against the Antipodes. " For how indeed 
could even rain be said to l fall * or to * descend/ as 
in the Psalms and the Gospels, in those regions 
where it could only be said to ' come up ' ? " 

Again, the world cannot be a globe, or sphere, or 
be suspended in mid-air, or in any sort of motion, 
for what say the Scriptures? " Earth is fixed on its 
foundations"; "Thou hast laid the foundations of 

8671 Pilgrims under the Roman Empire. 39 

the earth and It abideth " ; " Thou hast made the 
round world so sure, that it cannot be moved"; 
" Thou hast made all men to dwell upon the face of 
the whole earth " not " upon every face," or upon 
any more than one face u upon the face," not the 
back or the side, but the broad flat face we know. 
" Who then with these passages before him, ought 
even to speak of Antipodes?" 

So much against false doctrine ; to establish the 
truth is simpler still. For the same St. Paul, who 
disposes of science falsely so called, does not he 
speak, like David, like St. Peter and St. John, of 
our world as a tabernacle ? " If our earthly house 
of this tabernacle be dissolved," " We that are in 
this tabernacle do groan, being burdened," which 
points to the natural conclusion of enlightened 
faith, that Moses' tabernacle was an exact copy of 
the universe. " See thou make all things according 
to the pattern shewn thee in the Mount." So the 
four walls, the covered roof, the floor, the propor- 
tions of the Tent of the Wilderness, shewed us in 
small compass all that was in nature. 

If any further guidance were needed, it was ready 
to hand in the Prophet Isaiah and the Patriarch Job. 
" That stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain and 
spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in " ; " Also 
can any understand the spreadings of the clouds or 
the noise of his tabernacle ? " 

The whole reasoning is like the theological argu- 
ments on the effects of man's fall upon the stars and 
the vegetable world, or the atmospheric changes due 
to angels. 

40 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333, 

But though Cosmas states his system with the 
claims of an article of faith, there were not wanting 
men, and even saints, who stood out on the side 
of reason in geography in the most traditional of 
times. Isidore of Seville, and Vergil, the Irish mis- 
sionary of the eighth century, both maintained the 
old belief of Basil and Ambrose, that the question 
of the Antipodes was not closed by the Church, and 
that error in this point was venial and not mortal. 
For the positive tabernacle-system of "the man 
who sailed to India "there was never much sup- 
port; his work was soon forgotten, though it has 
been called by some paradox-makers " the great 
authority of the Middle Ages " in the face of the 
known facts, that this was the real position of 
Ptolemy and Strabo, that no one can speak of the 
" Middle Ages " in this unqualified way any more 
than of the Modern or Ancient worlds; and that 
Cosmas is almost unnoticed in the great age of 
mediaeval science, from the twelfth century. 

And whatever we may think of Cosmas and his 
Christian System of the Whole World? Evolved out 
of Holy Scripture, he is of interest to us as the last 
of the old Christian geographers, closing one age 
which, however senile, had once been in the truest 
sense civilised, and preparing us to enter one that in 
comparison is literally dark. From the age of Jus- 
tinian, and from the rise of Islam in the early years 
of the seventh century, the geographical knowledge 
of Christendom is on a par with its practical contrac- 
tion and apparent decline. There are travellers; 
but for the next five hundred years there are no 

867] Pilgrims of the Dark Ages. 41 

more theorists, cosmographers, or map-makers of 
the Universe or Habitable Globe. 

From the time that Islam, after a century of 
world-conquest, began to form itself into an organ- 
ised state, or federation of states, in the later eighth 
and earlier ninth centuries A.D., thus making itself 
until the thirteenth century the principal heir of the 
older Eastern culture, Christendom was content to 
take its geography, its ideas of the world in gen- 
eral, from the Arabs, who in their turn depended 
upon the pre-Christian Greeks. 

The relation of Ptolemy and Strabo to modern 
knowledge is best seen through the work of the 
Arabic geographers, but the Saracens did much to 
destroy before they began to build up once more. 
As the northern barbarians of the fifth century in- 
terrupted the hope of a Christian revival of Pagan 
literature and science, so the Moslems of the seventh 
and eighth cut short the Catholic and Roman revi- 
val of Justinian and Heraclius, in which the new 
faith and the old state had found a working 

Between Cosmas and the Viking-Age, " Chris- 
tian," " Roman," " Western " exploration falls within 
very narrow limits: the few pilgrims whose recol- 
lections represent to us the whole literature of travel 
in the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, add 
nothing fresh even of practical discovery; theory 
and theoretical work has ceased altogether, and the 
first stirrings of the new life in the commerce and 
voyages of Amalphi, and in the sudden and splendid 
outburst of Norse life in its age of piracy, are not 

42 Priwce Henry the Navigator. [333- 

yet, are not really before the world until the time of 
Alfred of England, of Charles the Bald, of Pope 
Nicholas L "the Great." Yet such as it is, this 
pilgrim stage of European development stands for 
something-. Religion, as it is the first agent in form- 
ing our modern nations, is the first impulse towards 
their expansion. And to us there is a special interest. 

For the best known of western travellers in this 
darkest of the Christian ages (600-870 A.D.), Arculf 
and Willibald, are both connected with England and 
the beginnings of English science in the age of Bede. 

Arculf, a Frank or Gallican Bishop, who about 
690 visited, first of " Latin '* writers since the Mo- 
hammedan conquest, Jerusalem, the Jordan valley, 
Nazareth, and the other holy places of Syria, was 
driven by storms on his return to the great Irish mon- 
astery of lona. There he described his wonders to the 
Abbot Adamnan, who then sat in the seat of the 
Irish Apostles Patrick and Columba, and by Adamnan 
this narrative was presented and dedicated to Aid- 
frith the Wise, last of the great Northumbrian 
Kings, in his Court at York (c. A.D. 701). Not only 
does- the original remain to us, but we have also 
two summaries of it, one longer, another shorter, 
made by Baeda, the Venerable Bede, as a useful 
manual for Englishmen, Concerning the Holy Sites. 
.We are again reminded by this how constantly 
fresh life is growing up under an appearance of 
death. The conversion of England, which Gregory 
the Great, Theodore, and the Irish monks had car- 
ried through in the seventh, that darkest of Christian 
centuries, was now bearing its fruit In the work of 

867] Pilgrims of the Dark Ages. 43 

Bede, who was really the sign of a far more perma- 
nent Intellectual movement than his own, and in 
that of Boniface, Wilbrord, and Willibald, who be- 
gan to win for Christendom in Germany more than 
a counterpoise for her losses In the South and East, 
from Armenia to Spain, 

Arculf is full of the mystical unscientific spirit of 
the time. He notes in Jerusalem "a lofty column, 
which at mid-day casts no shadow, thus proving 
itself to be the centre of the earth for as David says, 
4 God Is my king of old, working salvation in the 
midst of the earth/** 

ik At the roots of Lebanon " he comes to the place 
" where the Jordan has Its rise from two fountains 
Jor and Dan, whose waters unite in the single river 
Jordan." In the Dead Sea a lighted lamp would 
float safely, and no man could sink if he tried ; the 
bitumen of this place was almost indissoluble ; the 
only fruit here about were the apples of Sodom, which 
crumbled to dust In the mouth. 

The three churches on the top of Tabor were 
" according to the three tabernacles described by 

From Damascus Arculf made for the port of 
Tyre, and so came by Jaffa to Egypt. Alexandria 
he found so great that he was one entire day in 
merely passing through. Its port he thought " dif- 
ficult of access and something like the human body 
in shape, with a narrow mouth and neck, then 
stretching out far and wide." 

The great Pharos tower was still lit up every night 
with torches. Here was the " Emporium of the 

44 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333. 

whole world " ; " countless merchants from all 
parts*' : the "country rainless and very fertile." 

The Nile was navigable to the Town of Ele- 
phants; beyond this, at the Cataracts, the river 
"runs in a wild ruin down a cliff." Its embank- 
ments, its canals, and even its crocodiles, " not so 
large as ravenous/' are all described, and Arculf, re- 
turning home by Constantinople, concludes with an 
account of the capital of Christendom, " beyond 
doubt the metropolis of the Roman Empire, and by 
far the greatest city therein " ; lastly, as the pilgrim 
sails by Sicily he sees the " isle of Vulcan vomiting 
smoke by day and flame by night, with a noise like 
thunder, which is always fiercer on Fridays and 

Willibald, a nephew of St. Boniface and related 
through his mother to King Ina of Wessex, started 
for the East about 721, passed ten years in travel, 
and on his return followed his countrymen to mis- 
sion work and to death among the heathen of Upper 
Germany. He went out by Southampton and 
Rouen, by Lucca and the Alps, to Naples and Ca- 
tania, "where is Mount Etna; and when this vol- 
cano casts itself out they take St. Agatha's veil and 
hold it towards the fire, which ceases at once." 
Thence by Samos and Cyprus to Antaradus and 
Emesda, " in the region of the Saracens/' where the 
whole party, who had escaped the Moslem brigands 
of Southern Gaul, were thrown into prison on sus- 
picion of being spies. A Spaniard made interces- 
sion for them and got their release ; but Willibald 
went up country one hundred miles, and cleared 

867] Pilgrims of the Dark Ages. 45 

himself of all suspicion before the Caliph at Damas- 
cus. (( We have come from the West, where the 
sun has his setting, and we know of no land beyond 
nothing but water/* This was too far for spies, he 
pleaded, and the Caliph agreed, and gave him a pass 
for all the sites of Palestine, with which he traversed 
the length and breadth of the Holy Land four times, 
finding the same trouble in leaving as he had found 
in entering. Like Arculf, he saw the fountains of 
Jor-Dan, the " glorious church'* of Helena at Beth- 
lehem, the tombs of the Patriarchs at Hebron, the 
wonders of Jerusalem. Especially was he moved at 
the sight of the columns in the Church of the Ascen- 
sion on Olivet, " for that man who can creep between 
those columns and the wall is freed from all his 
sins." Tyre and Sidon he passed again and again 
"on the coast of the Adriatic Sea (as he calls the 
Levant), six miles from one another " ; at last he 
got away to Constantinople, with some safely smug- 
gled trophies of pilgrimage, and some "balsam in a 
calabash, covered with petroleum," but the customs 
officers would have killed all of them if the fraud 
had been found out so Willibald believed. After 
two years of close intercourse with the Greek Chris- 
tians of New Rome, living in a " cell hollowed out 
of the side of a church" (possibly Saint Sophia), 
the first of English-born travellers returned to Old 
Rome, as Arculf had done, by sea, noticing, like 
him, " Theodoric's Hell " in the Liparis. He could 
not get up the mountain, though curious to see 
"what sort of a hell it was" where the Gothic 
" Tyrant " was damned for the murder of Boethius 

46 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333. 

and Symmachus, and for his own Impenitent Arian- 
Ism. But though he could not be seen or heard, all 
the pilgrims remarked how the " pumice that writers 
use was thrown up by the flame from the hell, and 
fell Into the sea, and so was cast upon the shore and 
gathered up." 

Such was the philosophy of Catholicism about the 
countries of the known world in the eighth century, 
for Willibald's account was published with the im- 
primatur of Gregory III., and, with Arculf s, took 
rank as a satisfactory comment on the old Bordeaux 
Itinerary of four hundred years ago. 

Again, the impression given by our two chief 
Guide-Books, Arculf and Willibald, is confirmed by 
the monk Fidelis, who travelled in Egypt about 750, 
and by Bernard the Wise of Mont St. Michel, who 
went over all the pilgrim ground a century later 
(867) Fidelis, sailing up the Nile, was astonished 
at the sight of the " Seven Barns of Joseph, (the 
Pyramids) looking like mountains, but all of stone, 
square at the base, rounded in the upper part and 
twisted at the summit like a spire. On measuring 
a side of one of them, it was found to be four hun- 
dred feet." From the Nile Fidelis sailed by the fresh- 
water canal of Necho, Hadrian, and Amrou, not 
finally blocked up till 767, direct to the Red Sea, 
"near where Moses crossed with the Israelites." 
The pilgrim wanted to go and look for Pharaoh's 
chariot-wheels, but the sailors were obstinate, and 
took him round the Peninsula of Sinai, down one arm 
of the sea and up another, to Ezlongeber and Edom. 

Bernard, " the French Monk " of Mont St. Michel, 

867] Pilgrims of the Dark Ages. 47 

took the straight route overland by Rome to Ban, 
then a Saracen city, \vhose Emir forwarded the pil- 
grims in a fleet of transports carrying some nine 
thousand Christian slaves to Alexandria. Here, 
like Willibald, Bernard found himself " suspect " 
thrown Into prison till Backsheesh had been paid, 
then only allowed to move stage by stage as fees 
were prompt and sufficient, for a traveller must pay, 
as an Infidel, not only the ordinary tribute of the 
subject Christians of Egypt, but the " money of the 
road " as well. Islam has always made of strangers 
a fair mark for extortion. 

Safe at last In Jerusalem, the party (Bernard him- 
self and two friends, one a Spaniard, the other a 
monk of Beneventum) were lodged " In the Hostel 
of the glorious Emperor Charles, founded for all 
the pilgrims who speak the Roman tongue/' and 
after making the ordinary visits of devotion, and 
giving us their account of the Easter Miracle of 
the Holy Fire at the Church of the Sepulchre, they 
took ship for Italy, and landed at Rome after sixty 
days of misery at sea. 

Bernard's account closes with the Roman churches 
the Lateran, where the " keys of the whole city 
are given every night Into the hands of the Apos- 
tolic Pope," and St. Peter's on the " West side of 
Rome, that for size has no rival in the world." 

At the same time, or a little earlier than the Bre- 
ton traveller (c. 808-850), another Latin had written 
a short tract On the Houses of God in Jerusalem^ 
which, with Bernard's note-book, is our last geo- 
graphical record before the age of the Northmen. 

48 Prince Henry the Navigator. [333- 

A new time was coming a time not of timid 
creeping pilgrims only, but of sea-kings and sea- 
men, who made the ocean their home, and, for the 
North of Europe at least, broke the tradition of land 
journeys and coasting voyages. 

But the early pilgrims after all have their place. 
It is of no use insisting that the mental outlook of 
these men is infantile ; that is best proved by their 
own words, their own scale of things ; but it is neces- 
sary to insist that in these travellers we have com- 
paratively enlarged experience and knowledge ; and 
as comparison is the only test of any age, or of any 
man therein, the very blunders and limitations of 
the past, as we see them to be, have a constant, as 
well as an historical, value to us. That is, we are 
always being reminded, first, how we 'have come to 
the present mastery over nature, over ourselves, over 
all being ; and, secondly, how imperfect, how futile, 
our work is still, and seems always doomed to be, if 
judged from a really final standpoint, or rather from 
our own dreams of the ultimately possible. 

So if in the case of our mediaeval travellers their 
interests are the very reverse of ours ; if they take 
delight in brooding over thoughts which to us do 
not seem worth the thinking; if their minds seem 
to rest as much on fable implicitly accepted as on 
the little amount of experienced fact necessary for a 
working life, it will not be for us to judge, or to 
pity, or to despise the men who were making our 
world for us, and through whose work we live. 

Especially we cannot afford to forget this as we 
reach the lowest point of the fortunes, the mental 



867] Pilgrims of the Dark Ages. 49 

and material work and position and outlook, of Eu- 
rope and Christendom. A half-barbarised world had 
entered upon the inheritance of a splendid past, but 
It took centuries before that Inheritance was realised 
by the so altered present. In this time of change 
we have men writing In the language of Caesar and 
Augustine, of Alexander and Plato and Aristotle, 
who had been themselves, or whose fathers had__ 
been, pirates, brigands, nornades, "wolves of the 
land or of the sea " to Greeks or Romans of the 
South ; who had been even to the Romanised pro- 
vincials of the North, as in Britain, mere " dogs/* 
" whelps from the kennel of barbarism/* the destroy- 
ers of the order of the world. The boundless credu- 
lity and servile terror, the superstition and feudal 
tyranny of the earlier Middle Ages, mark the first 
stage of the reconstruction of society, when savage 
strong men who had conquered were set down be- 
side the overworked and outworn masters of the 
Western world, to learn of them, and to make of 
them a more enduring race. 



CIRCA 787-1066. 

|HE discoveries and conquests and 
colonies of the Norse Vikings, from 
the White Sea to North America, are 
the first glimpses of light on the sea 
of darkness round the little island of 
the known world that made up Chris- 
tendom^ And from the needs of the time these 
were the natural, the only natural beginnings of 
European expansion. From the rise of Islam, 
Saracens controlled the great trade-routes of the 
South and East. It was only on the West and 
North that the coast was clear of all but natural 

In the Moslem Caliphate men were now busy 
in following up the old lines of trade, the Imme- 
morial traditions of the East, or as in southern 
Africa, extending the sphere of commercial activity 
and so of civilisation ; men of science were com- 
menting on the ancient texts of Greeks and Latins, 
or adapting them to enlarged knowledge. 

But in Christendom, in the atrophy both of 

787-1066] Chief Lines of Norse Discovery. 5 1 

mental and physical activity, broken for short 
periods and in certain lands by the revivals of 
Charles the Great, of the Isaurian Emperors, of 
Otto I., of Alfred and his House, the practical 
energy of Heathen enemies, for the Northmen 
were not seriously touched by Christianity till 
about the end of the first millennium, was the 
first sign of lasting resurrection. After the mate- 
rial came the spiritual revival ; the whole life of 
the Middle Ages awoke on the conversion of 
the Northern nations and of Hungary ; but in the 
abundant and brilliant energy of the eleventh, the 
twelfth, the thirteenth centuries, we must recognise 
the offspring of the irrepressible Norsemen as well 
as of the Irish and Frank and English missionaries, 
who in the Dark Ages of Christendom were working 
out the empire of Innocent III. 

In exploration, especially, it was true that theory 
followed achievement. Flavio Gioja, of Amalphi, 
did not apply the magnet to navigation did not 
" give sailors the use of the magnet " till navigation 
itself had begun to venture into the unknown 
Atlantic. The history of geographical advance in 
the earlier Middle Ages is thus rather a chronicle of 
adventure than of science. 

But the Norse discoveries are not only the first, 
they are the leading achievements of Western travel 
and enterprise in the true Unknown, between the 
time of Constantine and the Crusades. The central 
fact of European expansion in the Dark Ages (from 
the seventh to the eleventh century) is the advance of 
the Vikings to the Arctic Continent and to America 

52 Prince Henry the Navigator, [737. 

about the year 1000. All that precedes this on the 
same line Is doubtful and unimportant. For, of the 
other voyages to the West in the sixth, the eighth, 
the tenth centuries, which, on Columbus' success, 
turned into prior claims to the finding of the New 
World, there is not one that deserves notice. 

St. Brandon in 565, the Seven Spanish Bishops 
in 734, the Basques in 990 may or may not have 
sighted their islands of " Antillia," of " Atlantis," 
of the " Seven Cities." They cannot be verified or 
valued, any more than the journeys of the En- 
chanted Horse or the Third Calendar. We only 
know for certain a few unimportant, half-accidental 
facts, such as the visits of Irish hermits to Iceland 
and the Faroes during the eighth century, and 
the traces of their cells and chapels in bells and 
ruins and crosses found by the Northmen in the 

It was in 787 that the Vikings first landed in 
England ; by the opening of the next century they 
were threatening the whole coast line of Christen- 
dom, from Gallicia to the Elbe; in 874 they began 
to colonise Iceland ; in 877 they sighted Greenland ; 
in 922 Rolf the Ganger won his " Normandy " from 
Charles the Simple, by the Treaty of Clair-sur-Epte ; 
as early as 840 was founded the first Norse or 
Ostman kingdom in Ireland, and in 878 the Norse 
earldom of the Orkneys, while about the same time 
the first Vikings seem to have reached the White 
Sea and the extreme North of Europe. 

This advance is almost as rapid as that of the 
early Saracens; within a hundred years from the 

1066] Norsemen in the West and America. 53 

first disturbance of Danes and Northmen by the 
growing, all-Including power of the new national 
kingdoms, within three generations from Halfdan 
the Black, first the flying rebels, and then the 
royalists in pursuit of them, had reached the far- 
thest western and northern limits of the known world, 
from Finisterre in " Spaniand " to Cape Farewell in 
Greenland, from the North Cape in Finland to the 
Northwest Capes of " Irland," from Novgorod or 
" Holmgard " in Russia to " Valland," between the 
Garonne and the Loire. 

The chief lines of Northern advance were three 
by the north-west, south-west, and north-east, but 
each of these divided, after a time, with important 

The first sea-path, running by Caithness, Ork- 
neys, Shetlands, and Faroes, reached Iceland, Green- 
land, and at last Vinland on the North American 
Continent ; but from the settlements on the coasts 
and islands of northern Scotland, a fresh wave of 
pirate colonists swept down south-west into the 
narrow seas of St. George's Channel and beat upon 
the east and north and south of Ireland and the 
western coasts of England and of " Bretland." 

The second invasion ran along the North German 
coast, and on reaching the Straits of Dover, fell 
upon both sides of the English Channel, according 
as the resistance was stronger or weaker in Wessex 
or in Frankland. The advanced guard reunited with 
Ostmen and Orkneyers in the Scilly Isles, and in 
Cornwall, and pressed on to the plunder of the Bay 
of Biscay and its coasts. The most restless of all 

54 Prince Henry the Navigator,, [737- 

were not long In finding out the wealth of the Mos- 
lem Caliphate of Cordova, and trying to force their 
way up the Douro and the Tagus. 

The expansion on this side was not to stop till 
it had founded, from the Norman colony on the 
Seine, a Norman kingdom of England, and a domin- 
ion in the Two Sicilies, but this was the work of 
the eleventh century, the time of organisation and 
settled empire. 

On the third side of northern expansion, to- east 
and north-east, there were two separate roads from 
the first ; one taking the Baltic for its track, and divid- 
ing northwards to Finland, up the Gulf of Bothnia, 
eastwards to Russia and Novgorod (" Gardariki " 
and " Holmgard "), the other coasting along " Halo- 
galand " to Biarmaland, along Lapland to Perm and 
the Archangel of later time. 

Of these three lines of movement by far the most 
vital to our subject is the first, which is also the 
earliest ; the second, to south and south-west, hardly 
gives any direct results for our story ; and the third, 
to east and north, is mainly concerned with Rus- 
sian history. While King Alfred was yet unborn, 
Norse settlements had been permanently founded 
in the outlying points, coasts, and islands of Scotland 
and Ireland, and in the years of his boyhood, about 
860, Nadodd the Faroe Jarl sighted Iceland, which 
had been touched at by the Irish monks in 795 but 
was now to be first added as a lasting gain to 
Europe, as a new country, " Snowland " something 
more than a hermitage for religious exiles from the 
world* Four years later (in 864) Gardar the Swede 


1066] Norsemen in the West and America. 55 

reached this new Ultima Thule, and re-named It from 
himself " Gardar's Holm/* Yet another Viking, 
Raven Floke, followed the track of the first explorer 
in 867, before Iceland got its final name and earliest 
colonisation from the Norsemen Ingolf and Leif and 
the sheep-farmers of the Faroes in 874, the third 
year of Alfred's reign in Wessex. 

Three years later, 877-8, at the very time of the 
farthest Danish advance in England, when Guthrum 
had driven the English King into the Isle of Athel- 
ney, the Norsemen reached their farthest point of 
northern advance in Europe ; Gunnbiom sighted a 
new land to the north-west, which he called " White 
Shirt," from its snow-fields, and which Red Eric a 
century later re-named Greenland " for there is 
nothing like a good name to attract settlers." By 
this the Old World had come nearer than ever be- 
fore to the discovery of a new one. 

Geographically, this side of the Arctic Continent 
falls to the share of North America, and once its 
fiords had been made in their turn centres of colo- 
nisation and of further progress, the actual reaching 
of Newfoundland and Cape Cod was natural enough. 
The real voyage lay between Cape Farewell and the 
European mainland ; it was a stormy and dangerous 
passage from the Greenland Bays to Labrador, but 
not a long one, and, as far as can be judged from 
scanty records, neither so cold nor so icebound as at 

But exploration had outrun settlement. It was 
not till 986, more than one hundred years after Gunn- 
biorn's discovery, that Eric the Red, one of the 

56 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

chiefs of the Iceland colonists, led a band of fol- 
lowers and friends into a permanent exile in the 
unknown land. The beginnings of several villages 
were made in the next few years, and the first Ameri- 
can discoveries followed at once. About 989 one 
Bjarni Herjulfson, following his father from Iceland 
to Eric's Fiord in Greenland, was driven west by 
storms first to a flat, well-wooded country, then to a 
mountainous island, covered with glaciers. He bore 
away with a fresh breeze and reached his home in 
Eric's Fiord in four days. 

But his report aroused great interest; the time 
had come, and the men, and Norse rovers, who after 
so much in the past were ready to dare anything in 
the future, eagerly volunteered to follow up the new 
route; Bjarni himself visiting Norway and telling 
his story, was blamed for his slackness, and when he 
went back to Greenland there was " much talk of 
finding unknown lands." In the year 1000 Leif, a 
son of Red Eric, started with a definite purpose of 
discovery. He bought Bj ami's ship, manned it with 
five and twenty men and put out. First they came 
to the land Bjarni had sighted last, and went on 
shore. There was no grass to be seen, but great 
snowy ridges far inland, " and all the way from the 
coast to these mountains was one field of snow, and 
it seemed to them a land of no profit," so they 
left, calling it Helluland, or Slate-land, perhaps the 
Labrador of the sixteenth century. 

They put to sea again and found another land, 
flat and wooded, with a white sand shore, low-lying 
towards the sea. This, said Leif, we will call after 

10663 Norsemen in the West and America. 5 7 

its nature, Markland (Woodland). Thence driving 
for two days before a north-east wind, they came to 
an Island, where they landed to wait for good 
weather. They tasted the dew on the grass and 
thought they had never known anything so sweet. 
Sailing on again into a sound between the island and 
a ness, they reached a place where a river came out 
of a lake ; Into this they towed the ship and anchored, 
carrying their beds out on the shore and setting up 
their tents, with a large hut in the middle, and made 
all ready for wintering there. 

There was no want of fish food " the largest salmon 
in the lake they had ever seen " and the country 
seemed to them so good that they would need no 
fodder for cattle In the winter. There was no frost ; 
the grass seemed fresh enough all the year round, 
and day and night were more equal than In Iceland or 
In Greenland. The crew were divided In two parts : 
one worked at the huts and the other explored the 
country, returning every night to the camp. From 
the wild vines found by the foragers, the whole dis- 
trict was called Vinland, and samples of these, 
enough to fill the stern boat, and of the trees and 
"self-sown wheat" found in the fields were taken 
back to Eric's Fiord. Thereafter Leif was called 
the Lucky, and got much wealth and fame, but 
Thorwald Erlcson, his brother, thought he had not 
explored enough, and " determined to be talked 
about " even more than the first settler of Vinland. 

He put to sea with thirty men and came straight 
to Leif s Booths In Vinland, where lie stayed the 
winter. On the first signs of spring Thorwald 

58 Prince Henry the Navigator. [737- 

ordered his vessel to be rigged, and sent his long- 
boat on ahead to explore* 

All alike thought the land beautiful and well- 
wooded ; they noticed that the distance was small 
between the forest and the sea, that the beach was 
all of white sand, and that there were many islands 
off the shore and very shallow water; but they saw no 
trace of man or beast, except a wooden corn-barn on 
an island far to the west. After coasting all the 
summer they came back in the autumn to the 

The next spring Thorwald went eastwards, and 
"towards the north along the land they drove upon 
a cape and broke their keel and stayed long to repair, 
and called the place Keel-Ness (Kjalarness) from 
this.'* Then they sailed away eastwards along the 
country, everywhere thickly wooded, till at one place 
Thorwald drew up his ships to the land and laid out 
gangways to the shore, saying, " I would gladly set 
up my farm here.'* 

But now they came upon the first traces of other 
men ; far off upon the white sandy beach three 
specks were sighted three skin boats of the Skrael- 
ings or Esquimaux, with three men hiding under 
each. Thorwald's men captured and killed eight of 
them, but one escaped " to where within the fiord 
were several dwellings like little lumps on the 
ground." A heavy drowsiness now fell upon the 
Norsemen, in the Saga, till a "sudden scream came 
to them, and a countless host from up the fiord 
came in skin boats and laid themselves alongside." 

The Vikings put up their shield-wall along the 

1066] Norsemen in the West and America. 59 

gunwale and kept off the arrows of the Esquimaux 
till they had shot them all away, and " fled off as fast 
as they could," leaving Thonvald with a mortal 
wound under the arm. He had time just to bid his 
men " carry him to the point he had wished to dwell 
at, for it was true that he would stay there awhile, 
but with a cross at head and feet ; and so died and 
was buried as he had said." The place was called 
Crossness from the dead chief, but the crew stayed 
all the winter and loaded the ship with vines and 
grapes, and in the spring came back to Eric in 

And now, after the first mishap, discovery became 
more serious not to be undertaken but by strong 
and well-armed fleets. It was this that checked the 
expansion of these Arctic colonies ; at their best 
they were too small to do more than hold their own 
against nature and the Skraeling savages in their tiny 
settlements along the coast, where the ice-fields have 
long since pushed man slowly but surely into the 
sea, with his painfully won patches of hay and corn 
and pasturage. 

But the colonists would never say die till they 
were utterly worn out ; now they only roused them- 
selves to conquer the new lands they had found, 
and found disputed. 

First a third son of Red Eric, Thorstein, bethought 
him to go to Vinland for his brother Thorwald's 
body. Ke put to sea and lost all sight of land, 
beating about in the ocean the whole summer, till 
he came back to Greenland in the first week of 
winter. (1005.) 

60 Prince Henry the Navigator. [737. 

He was followed by the greatest of the Vinland 
sailors, Thorfinn Karlsefne, who really took In 
hand the founding of a new settlement over the 
Western Sea. He came from Norway to Iceland 
soon after Thorwald's death in 1004, passed on to 
Greenland about 1005, "when, as before, much was 
talked about a Vinland voyage," and in 1006 made 
ready to start with one hundred and sixty men and 
five women, in three ships. They had with them all 
kinds of cattle, meaning to settle in the land if they 
could, and they made an agreement, Karlsefne and 
his people, that each should have an equal share in 
the gain. Leif lent them his houses in Vinland, 
" for he would not give them outright," and they 
sailed first to Helluland (Labrador), where they 
found a quantity of foxes, then to Markland, well- 
stocked with forest animals, then to an island at the 
mouth of a fiord, unknown before, covered with 
eyder ducks. They called the new discoveries Stream 
Island and Stream Fiord, from the current that here 
ran out into the sea, and sent off a party of eight 
men, in search of Vinland, in a stern boat. This 
was driven by westerly gales back to Iceland, but 
Thorfinn, with the rest, sailed south till he came to 
Leif Ericson's " river that fell into the sea from a 
lake, with islands lying off the mouth of the stream, 
low grounds covered with wheat growing wild, and 
rising grounds clad with vines." 

Here they settled, re-named the country " Hope, 
from the good hope they had of it," and began to 
fell the wood, to pasture their cattle in the uplandy 
and to gather the grapes. 

1066] Norsemen in the West and America. 6 1 

After the first winter the Skraelings came upon 
them, at first to traffic with furs and sables against 
milk and dairy produce, and then to fight; for 
as neither understood the other, and the natives 
tried to force their way into Thorfinn's houses, and to 
get hold of his men's weapons, a quarrel was bound 
to come. 

Fearing this, Karlsefne put a fence round the set- 
tlement and made all ready for battle, " and at this 
very time was a child born to him in the village, 
called Snorre, of Gudrid Ms wife, the widow of 
Thorstein Eric-son, whom lie had brought with 
him." Then the Esquimaux came down upon 
them, "many more than before, and there was a 
battle, and Thorfinn's men won the day and saved 
the cattle," and their enemies fled into the forest. 

Thorfinn stayed all the winter, but towards spring 
he grew tired of his enterprise, and returned to Green- 
land, " taking much goods," vines, wood for timber, 
and skin-wares, and so came back to Eric's Fiord 
in the summer of 1008. 

Thus ends the story of the last serious effort to 
colonise Vinland, and the Saga, while giving no 
definite cause for this failure upon failure, seems to 
show that even the trifling annoyance of the Skrael- 
Ings was enough to turn the scale. Natural difficul- 
ties were so immense, men were so few, that a pigmy 
enemy had all the power of the last straw in a load, 
the odd man in a council. The actual resistance of 
American natives to European colonists was never 
very serious In any part of the continent, but the 
distance from the starting-point and the difficulties 

62 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

of life In the new country were able, even In the time 
of Raleigh and De Soto, to keep In check men who 
far more readily founded and kept up European 
empires In the Indian seas. 

So now, though on Thorfinn's return the " talk 
began to turn again upon a Vinland voyage, as both 
gainful and honourable/' and a daughter of Red Eric, 
named Freydis, talked men over especially two 
brothers, Helge and Finnboge to a fresh attempt 
In the country where all the House of Eric had 
tried and failed ; though Leif lent his booths as 
before, and sixty able-bodied men, besides women, 
were found willing to go, the colony could never 
be firmly planted. Freydis and her allies sailed In 
1011, reached the settlement, which was now for 
the third time recolonised, and wintered there ; 
but jealousies soon broke up the camp, Helge and 
Finnboge were murdered with all their followers, and 
the rest came back in 1013 to Greenland, "where 
Thorfinn Karlsefne was just ready for sailing back to 
Norway, and it was common talk that never did a 
richer ship leave Eric's Fiord than that which lie 
steered." It was that same Karlsefne who gave the 
fullest account of all his travels, concludes the Saga, 
but whether Thorfinn ever returned to Vinland, 
whether there were any more attempts to settle at 
Leif s Booths or elsewhere, whether the account we 
have of these voyages is really an Eric Saga, only tell- 
ing the deeds of Red Eric and his House for after 
Bjarni, almost every Vinland leader is of this family 
we cannot tell. We can only fancy that all these sug- 
gestions are probable, by the side of the few addi- 

1066] Norsemen in the West and America. 63 

tional facts known to the Norse Skalds or Bards* 
The first of these is, that in 983-4, Are Marson of 
Reykianes in Iceland was driven by storms far West 
to White Man's Land, where he was followed by 
BjarnI Asbrandson in 999, and by Gudleif Gudlang- 
son in 1029. This was the tale of his friend Rafn, 
" the Limerick trader/* and of Are Frode, his great- 
great-grandson, who called the unknown land Great 
Ireland.* True or untrue, in whatever way, this 
would be a later discovery than those of Eric 
and his sons, if the news of it did not come Into 
Iceland or Norway till after Thorfinn Karlsefne's 
voyage, as is generally supposed. Again, the length 
of the voyage is a difficulty, and the whole matter 
has a doubtful look an attempt to start a rival to 
the Eric Saga, by a far more brilliant success a few 
years earlier* 

We seem to be on more certain ground in our 
next and last chapter of Viking exploration in the 
north-west, in the fragmentary notices of Green- 
land and Vinland voyages to the middle of the 
fourteenth century, and in the fairly clear and con- 
tinuous account of the two Greenland settlements of 
the western and the eastern Bays. 

We hear, for instance, of Bishop Eric going over 
from Eric's Fiord to Vinland in 1121; of clergy 
from the Eastern Bay diocese of Gardar sailing to 
lands in the West, far north of Vinland, in 1266 ; of 
the two Helgasons discovering a country west of 
Iceland in 1285 ; of a voyage from Greenland to 

* By some supposed to be S. Carolina, by others the Canaries, 

64 Prince Henry the Navigator. [707. 

Markland in 1347 by a crew of seventeen men, 
recorded in 1354. 

Unless these are pure fabrications, they would 
seem to prove something of constant intercourse 
between the mother and daughter colonies of north- 
west Europe and north-east America, and some- 
thing of a permanent Christian settlement of 
Northmen in the New Continent is made probable 
by assuming such intercourse. Between 981-1000, 
both Iceland and Greenland had become " Catholic 
in name and Christian in surname"; in 1126 the line 
of Bishops of Gardar begins with Arnold, and the 
clergy would hardly have ventured on the Vinland 
voyage to convert Skraelings in an almost deserted 

The later story of the Greenland colonies, interest- 
ing as it is, and traceable' to the year 1418, is not 
part of the expansion but of the contraction of 
Europe and Christendom. And the voyages of the 
Zeni in 1380-95 to Greenland and the Western 
islands Estotiland and Drogeo, belong to another 
part; they are the last achievements of mediaeval 
discovery before Henry of Portugal begins his work, 
and form the natural end of an introduction to that 

But it is curious to notice that just as the ice and 
the Esquimaux between them were bringing to an 
end the last traces of Norse settlement in the Arctic 
Continent, and just as all intercourse between Vin- 
land, Greenland, Iceland, and Norway entirely 
ceases at any rate to record itself the Portuguese 
sailors, taking up the work of Eric and Leif and 

1066] The Norsemen in the Old World. 65 

Thorfinn, on another side, were rounding Cape 
Verde and nearing the southern point of Africa, and 
so providing for the mind of Columbus suggestions 
which resulted in the lasting discovery of the world 
that the Vikings had sighted and colonised, but were 
not able to hold. 

The Venetian, Welsh, and Arabic claims to have 
followed the Norsemen in visits to America earlier 
than the voyage of 1492, belong rather to the minute 
history of geographical controversy. It is a fairly 
certain fact that the north-west line of Scandina- 
vian migration reached about A.D. 1000 to Cape 
Cod and the coasts of Labrador. It is equally cer- 
tain that on this side the Norsemen never made any 
further advance, lasting or recorded. Against all 
other mediaeval discoveries of a Western Continent, 
one only verdict can stand : Not Proven. 

The other lines of Northern advance, though 
marked by equal daring and far greater military 
exploits, have less of original discovery. There was 
fighting in plenty, the giving and taking of hard 
knocks with every nation from Archangel to Cordova 
and from Limerick to Constantinople ; and the Vi- 
kings, as they reached fresh ground, re-named most of 
the capes and coasts, the rivers and islands and coun- 
tries of Europe, of North Africa, of Western Asia. 
Iberia became "Spanland"; Gallicia, "Jacobsland"*; 
Gallia, " Franldand " ; Britannia, " England," " Scot- 
land," "Bretland"; Hibernia, "Irland"; Islam, 
outside " Spanland," passed into " Serkland " or Sara- 

From St. James of Compostella. 

66 Prince Henry the Navigator. [737^ 

cenland. Greece was " Grikland " ; Russia, " Gardar- 
Iki " ; the Pillars of Hercules, the Straits of Gibraltar, 
were "Norva's Sound/' which later days derived 
from the first Northman who passed through therru 
The city of Constantine was the Great Town 
" Miklagard " ; Novgorod was " Holmgard," the 
town of all others that most touched and influenced 
the earlier, the Viking age, of Northern expansion. 
For was it not their own proudest and strongest 
city-state, and " Who can stand before God, or the 
Great Novgorod ? " except the men who had built 
it, and would rush to sack it if it turned against 

But all this was only the passing of a more 
active race over ground which had once been well 
known to Rome and to Christendom, even if much 
of this was now being forgotten. It was only in 
upland Russia and in the farthest North that the 
Norsemen sensibly enlarged the Western world to 
east or north-east, as they did through their Iceland 
settlements on the north-west. 

On the south and south-west no Vikings or 
Royalist followers of Vikings, like Sigurd the Cru- 
sader, sailed the seas beyond Norva's Sound and 
Serkland,* and as pilgrims, traders, travellers, and 
conquerors in the Mediterranean, their work was of 
course not one of exploration. They bore a fore- 
most share in breaking down the Moslem incubus 
on southern Europe ; they visited the Holy sites 

* Unless White Man's Land and Great Ireland arc the Canaries 

See above, p. 63. 

10663 The Norsemen in the Old World. 67 

" When sacred Hierosolyma they M relieved 

And fed their eyes on Jordan's holy flood 
Which the dear body of Lord God had laved ** ; * 

they fought as Varangian body-guards in the armies 
of the great Byzantines, NIkephoros Phokas, John 
Tzimiskes, Basil II. or Maniakes; but In all this 
they discovered for themselves rather than for 

But Russia, that is, Old Russia round Novgorod 
and Kiev, the White Sea, the North Cape and Fin- 
land coasts, as well as the more outlying parts of 
Scotland and Ireland, were first clearly known to 
Europe through the Northmen. The same race 
did much to open up the modern Lithuania 
and Prussia, and the conversion of the whole of 
Scandinavia, mother country and colonies alike, 
in the tenth and eleventh centuries added our Nor- 
way, Sweden, and Denmark, with all the Viking 
settlements, to the civilised world and church of 

First, on the eastern side, it was in 862 that the 
Russians invited help from their less dreaded neigh- 
bours around Upsala against their more vexatious 
neighbours around Kiev, and in September of the 
same year Ruric arrived at Novgorod and founded 
the Mediaeval Kingdom of Russia, which in the 
tenth century under Oleg, Igor, and Vladimir was 
first the plunderer, then the open enemy, and finally 
the ally In faith and in arms of the Byzantine 

* Camoens> Lmiads* {Barton's trans.). 

68 Prince Henry the Navigator. [737- 

All through this time and afterwards, till the 
time of the Tartar deluge, the intercourse of Swedes, 
Danes, and Northmen with Gardariki was con- 
stant and close, and not least in the time of the 
Vinland voyages, when Vladimir and Jaroslav 
reigned at Novgorod, and the two Olafs, the son of 
Trygve and the Saint, found refuge at their court 
before and after their hard rule in Norway. 

Olaf Trygveson's uncle had grown old in exile at 
Novgorod when young Olaf and his mother fled 
from Norway to join him there and were captured 
by Vikings in the Baltic and kept six years in the 
Gulf of Riga before they got to Holmgard (972). 

In 1019 Ingigerd of Sweden was married to Jaro- 
slav ; ten years later St. Olaf was driven from Nor- 
way by revolt, and flying into Russia, was offered 
a Kingdom called Volgaria the modern Casan, 
whose old metropolis of Vulghar was known to the 
Arab travellers of the ninth century, and whose 
ruins can still be seen. Olaf hesitated between this 
and a pilgrim's death in Jerusalem and at last 
preferred to fight his way back to Norway, 

The next King of the Norsemen, Magnus the 
Good, came from Novgorod by Ladoga to Trondh- 
jem, when Olafs son Harold Hardrada fled back to 
his father's refuge, to the court of Jaroslav ; while 
Magnus had been in exile, men had asked news of 
him from all the merchants that traded to Novgorod. 

Last of these earlier kings, Harold Hardrada, dur- 
ing all the time of his wild romance in East and 
South, before he went to Miklagard, and after his 
flight, and all the time of his service in the Varangian 

1066] The Norsemen in the Old World. 69 

Guard of the Empress Zoe, made Novgorod his 
home. His pilgrim relics from Holy Land and 
his war spoils from Serkland Africa and Sicily 
were all sent back to Jaroslav's care till their mas- 
ter could come and claim them, and when he came 
at last, flying from Byzantine vengeance across 
the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov and " all round 
the Eastern Realm " of Kiev, he found his wealth 
untouched and Princess Elizabeth ready to be his 
wife and to help him with Russian men and money 
to win back Norway and to die at Stamford Bridge 
for the Crown of England (1066). 

Harold is the type of all Vikings, of the Norse 
race in its greatest, most restless energy. William 
the Conqueror, or Cnut the Great, or Robert 
Guiscard, or Roger of Sicily, are all wiser and 
stronger men, but there is no " ganger/* no rover, 
like the man who in fifty years, after fighting in well- 
nigh every land of Christians or of the neighbours 
and enemies of Christendom, yet hoped for time to 
sail off to the new-found countries and so fulfil his oath 
and promise to perfect a life of unmatched adven- 
ture by unmatched discovery. He had fought with 
wild beasts in the Arena of Constantinople ; he had 
bathed in the Jordan and cleared the Syrian roads 
of robbers ; he had stormed eighty castles In Africa ; 
he had succoured the Icelanders in famine and lived 
as a prince In Russia and Northumberland ; by his own 
songs he boasts that he had sailed all round Europe ; 
but he fell, the prototype of sea-kings like Drake or 
Magellan, without one discovery. Men of his own 
nation and time had been before him everywhere 

70 Prince Henry the Navigator. [737- 

but he united in himself the work and adventures, 
the conquests and discoveries of many. He was the 
Incarnation of Northern spirit, and it was through 
the lives and records of such as he that Europe be- 
came filled with that new energy of thought and 
action, that new life and knowledge, which was the 
ground and impulse of the movement led by Henry 
the Navigator, by Columbus, and the Cabots. 

Harold's wars kept him from becoming a great 
explorer, but Norse captains who took service under 
peaceful kings did something of what he aimed at 

We must retrace our steps to the voyages of 
Ohthere and Wulfstan under King Alfred about the 
year 890, about the time when a Norse King, Harold 
Fair-hair, was first seen in the Scotch and Irish seas. 
Their discovery of the White Sea, the North Cape, 
and the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland was followed 
up by many Norsemen, such as Thorer Hund under 
St. Olaf, in the next one hundred and fifty years,* 
but Ohthere's voyage was the first and chief of these 
adventures both in motive and result. 

"He told his lord King Alfred that he dwelt 
northmost of all Northmen on the land by the 
Western Sea and he wished to find how far the 
land lay right north, or whether any man dwelt 
north of the waste. So he went right north 
near the land ; for three days he left the waste 
land on the right and the wide sea on the left, as 

* And a certain number of Viking sailors seem to have preceded 
Dhthere on his voyage to the Dwina. 

10661 The Norsemen in the Old World. 71 

far as the whale hunters ever go " ; and still he kept 
north three days more (to the North Cape of 

" Then the land bent right east, and with a west 
wind he sailed four days till the land bent south, 
and he sailed by It five days more to a great river 
the Dwina that lay up into the land, and where 
beyond the river it was all inhabited " the modern 
country of Perm and Archangel. 

Here he trafficked with the people, the first he 
had met, except the Finn hunters, since leaving his 
fiord. Besides his wish to see the country, he was 
looking for walrus-ivory and hides. 

The Finns and Biarma-men (men of Archangel), 
It seemed to him ? spoke nearly the same language, 
but between his home and this Biarmaland no 
human being lived in any fixed dwelling, and all the 
Northman's land was long and narrow and thinly 
peopled, decreasing in breadth as it stretched north- 
ward, from sixty to three days' journey. 

Again Alfred told how Ohthere, sailing south for 
a month from his house, having Ireland on his right 
and coasting Norway all the time on his left, 
came to Jutland, " where a great sea runs up into 
the land, so vast that no man can see across it," 
whence in five days more he reached the coast^ 
" from which the English came to Britain/* 

Wulfstan, in the service of the same king, told 
him how he sailed in seven days from Sleswick to 
Truso and the Vistula, having Wendland (or Pome- 
rania and Prussia) on his right all the way. He de- 
scribed " Witland near the Vistula and Estland and 

72 Prince Henry the Navigator. [737- 

Wendland and Estmere and the Ilfing running 
from the Truso lake into Estmere/' but neither the 
king nor his captains knew enough to contradict the 
old idea, found in Ptolemy and Strabo, of Scandi- 
navia as one vast island. 

Thus it was for the satisfaction of their Saxon 
Lord that Wulfstan and Ohthere, by their voyages 
along the coasts of Norway and Lapland, of Pome- 
rania and Prussia, round the White Sea and the 
Gulf of Riga and southern Finland, added a more 
coherent view of north-east Europe, and specially of 
the Baltic Gulf, to Western geography ; but these 
Norse discoveries, though in the service of an English 
king, were scarcely used save by Norsemen, and they 
must partly go to the credit of Vikings, as well as of 
Alfred the Great. Thus in 965 King Harold Gray skin 
of Norway " went and fought with the folk on the 
banks of the Dwina," and plundered them, and in 1026 
Thorer Hund joined himself to a fleet sent by St. Olaf 
to the White Sea, pillaged the temple of the idol 
Jomala, and destroyed his countrymen by treachery 
on their way home. Where two expeditions are re- 
corded they may well stand for twenty unknown and 
uneventful ones, and the same must be equally 
granted as to the gradual advance of knowledge 
through the unceasing attacks of the Norse kings 
and pirates on the lands to the south of the Baltic, 
where lived the Wends. 

Thus on the west and east, north-west and 
north-east, the Northmen could and did make a 
definite advance into the unknown ; even the south- 
west lines of Northern invasion and settlement, 

1066] The Norsemen in the Old World. 73 

though they hardly yield any general results to dis- 
covery, certainly led to a more thorough inclusion 
of every part of the British isles in the civilised 
West, through the Viking earldoms in Caithness, in 
the Orkneys and the Shetlands, in Man and the 
Hebrides, and on the coast of Ireland, where the 
Ostrnan colonies grew into kingdoms. From about 
840, when the first of these settlements was fairly 
and permanently started, to the eleventh century, 
when a series of great defeats, by Brian Bora at 
Clontarf in 1014, by Godwine and Harold in Eng- 
land from 1042 to 1066, and by the Norman and 
Scottish kings in the next generation, practically 
destroyed the Norse dominion outside the Orkneys, 
for those two hundred years, Danes and Northmen 
not only pillaged and colonised, but ruled and re- 
organised a good half of the British isles. 

By the time of Alfred the Viking principalities 
were scattered up and down the northern and west- 
ern coasts of the greater of our two islands, and 
were fringing three sides of the lesser. About A.D. 
900 the pioneer of the Norse kings, Harold Fair- 
hair, pursued his traitors, first to Shetlands and Ork- 
neys, then to Caithness, the Hebrides, and Man. 
His son Eric, who followed him, ranged the North- 
ern seas from Archangel to Bordeaux, and so Hakon 
the Good in 936 and other Norse princes in 946,961, 
965, above all, the two great Kings Olaf in 985-9 
and 1009-14, fought and triumphed through most of 
the world as known to the Northmen. Thus, Frank- 
land, England, Ireland, Scotland were brought into 
a closer unity through the common danger, while as 

74 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

the sea-kings founded settled states, and these grew 
by alliance, first with one another and then with 
their older Christian victims, as the Norse kingdoms 
themselves became parts of Latin Christendom, 
after Latin Christendom had itself been revived and 
re-awakened by their attacks, the full value of the 
time of trial came out on both sides, to conquered 
and to conquerors. 

For the effects formative, Invigorative, provoca- 
tive, of the Northern invasions had a most direct 
bearing on the expansion that was to come in the 
next age even for those staid and sober Western 
countries, England and France and Italy, which had 
long passed through their time of migration, and 
where the Vikings could not, as in the far north-east 
and north-west, extend the area of civilisation or 
geographical knowledge. 

Lastly, the new start made by England in explo- 
ration, and trade, and even in pilgrimage, is plainly 
the result in action and reaction of the Norse 
and Danish attacks, waking up the old spirit of a kin- 
dred race, of elder cousins that had sunk into leth- 
argy and forgotten their seamanship. 

But from the Peace of Wedmore (878) Alfred 
first of all began to build an English navy able to 
meet and chase and run down the Viking keels ; 
then established a yearly pilgrimage and alms- 
giving at the Threshold of the Apostles in Rome ; 
then sent out various captains in his service to 
explore as much of the world as was practicable for 
his new description of Europe. His crowning effort 
in religious extension was in 883, when Sigehelm 

1066] The Norsemen in the Old World. 75 

and Athelstan bore Alfred's gifts and letters to 
Jerusalem and to India, to the Christians of San 
Thom< ; the corresponding triumph of the King's 
scientific exploration, the discoveries in the White 
Sea and the Baltic, seem to have happened nearer 
the end of the reign, somewhere before 895* 


CIRCA 1100-1300. 

HE pilgrims were the pioneers of the 
growth of Europe and of Christen- 
dom until Charlemagne, in one sense, 
in another and a broader sense until 
the Crusades. 

Their. original work, as far as it can 
be called original at all, was entirely overshadowed 
by the Vikings, who made real discoveries of the 
first importance in hunting for new worlds to con- 
quer ; but when first the Viking rovers themselves, 
and then the Northmen, settled in the colonies and 
the old home, took up Christianity as the Arabs had 
taken up Islam, the pilgrim spirit was translated, as 
it were, into new and more powerful forms. Through 
the conversion of Hungary and of Scandinavia,* 
Europe, Christian Europe, was compacted together 
in a stronger Empire than that of Constantine 
or of Charlemagne a spiritual federation, not a 
political unity one and undivided not in visible 

* As completed about A. 0.1000-1040. 

1100-1300] Expansion through the Crusades. 77 

subordination, but in a common zeal for a common 
faith. This was the state of the Latin world, and in 
a measure of the Greek and Russian world as well, 
by the middle of the eleventh century, when the 
Byzantine Emperors had broken the strength of the 
Eastern Caliphate, and recovered most of the realm 
of Heraclius ; when the Roman Papacy under Leo 
IX., Hildebrand, and Urban began its political stage, 
aiming, and in great part successfully aiming, at an 
Imperial Federation of Europe under religion ; when 
on every side, in Spain, in France, in England, in 
Germany, and in Italy, the nations that had been 
slowly built into that Domus Dei were filled with 
fresh life and purpose from the Norsemen, who, as 
pirates, or conquerors, or brothers, had settled among 
them. The long crusade that had gone on for four 
hundred years in Spain and in southern Italy and in 
the Levant, which had raged round the islands of the 
Mediterranean, or the passes of the Alps and Pyr- 
enees, or the banks of the Loire and the Tiber, 
was now, on the eve of the first Syrian Crusade of 
1096, rapidly tending to decisive victory. Toledo 
was won back in 1084; the Norman dominion in 
the Two Sicilies had already takeii the place of a 
weak and halting Christian defence against Arab 
emirs ; pilgrims were going in thousands where there 
had been tens or units by the reopened land route 
through Hungary; only in the far East the first 
appearance of the Turks as Moslem champions,^ 
threatened an ebb of the tide. Christendom had seen 

* As In 1071, when they crushed Romanus and the Byzantines in 
the battle of Manzikert. 

78 Prince Henry the Navigator* cnoo- 

a wonderful expansion of the Heathen North ; now 
that it had won the Northmen to itself, it was ready 
to imitate their example. The deliberate purpose 
of the Popes only gave direction to the universal 
feeling of restless and abundant energy longing for 
wider action. But it was not the crusading movement 
itself which brought so much new light, so much new 
knowledge of the world, to Europe, as the reszilts of 
that impulse in trade, in travel, and in colonisation. 

(1) From the eleventh century, from the beginning 
of this period, all the greater pilgrims, Ssewulf the 
English merchant, King Sigurd of Norway, Abbot 
Daniel of Kiev, and their followers, have something 
more in view than piety; they have a general in- 
terest in travel ; some of them a special interest in 
trade ; most of them go to fight as well as to pray. 

(2) But as the warlike spirit of the Church Militant 
seems to grow tired, and its efforts at founding new 
kingdoms in Antioch, in Jerusalem, in Cyprus, in 
Byzantium more and more fruitless, the direct ex- 
pansion of European knowledge, begins, in scientific 
travel. Vinland and Greenland and the White Sea 
and the other Norse discoveries were discoveries 
made by a great race for itself ; unconnected as they 
were with the main lines of trade or with religious 
sentiment, they were unrealised by the general con- 
sciousness of the West. A full account of the Norse 
voyages to America was lying at the Vatican when 
Columbus was searching for proofs of land within 
reach, of India, as he expected, in the place where 
he found an unknown continent and a new world. 
But no one knew of these ; even the Greenland col- 

1300] Expansion through Land Travel. 79 

ony had been lost and forgotten in the fifteenth 
century; In 1553 the English sailors reached the 
land of Archangel without a suspicion that Ohthere 
or Thorer Hund had been there six hundred years 
before ; Russia from the thirteenth to the sixteenth 
centuries was almost out of sight and mind under the 
Tartar and Moslem rule ; but the missionaries and 
merchants and travellers who followed the crusading 
armies to the Euphrates, and crept along the caravan 
routes to Ceylon and the China Sea ? added Further 
and Central Asia " Thesauri Arabum et divitis 
Indiae " to the knowledge of Christendom. 

And as this knowledge was bound up with gain ; 
as the Polos and their companions had really opened 
to the knowledge of the West those great prizes of 
material wealth which even the Rome of Trajan had 
never fully grasped, and which had been shared be- 
tween Arabs and natives without a rival for so long ; 
it was not likely to be easily forgotten. From that 
time, at the end of the thirteenth century, to the suc- 
cess of the Portuguese on another road, at the end 
of the fifteenth, European interest was fairly en- 
gaged In pressing In upon the old land-routes and 
getting an ever larger share of their profits. 

(3) There was another side of the same problem, a 
still brighter hope for men who could dare to try It. 
By finding a sea-path to the Indian store-house, mari- 
ners like the Venetians and Genoese, or their Spanish 
pupils, might cut Into the treasuries of the world at 
their very source, found a trade-empire for their 
country, and gain the sole command of heaven on 
earth, of the true terrestrial paradise. 

80 Prince Henry the Navigator, 

Then masters of the wealth of the East and of the 
fighting power of the West, the Christian nations 
might crush their old enemy, Islam, between two 
\velghts, hammer and anvil ; might fairly strike for 
the rule of the entire habitable globe. 

It was with thoughts of this kind, vaguely In- 
spired by the Crusades and their legacy of discovery 
from Bagdad to Cathay, that the Vivaldi left Genoa 
to find an ocean way round Africa in 1281-91, "with 
the hope of going to the parts of the Indies " ; that 
Malocello reached the Canary Islands about 1270; 
and that volunteers went on the same quest nearly 
twenty times In the next four generations before 
their spasmodic efforts were organised and pressed 
on to achievement by Henry and his Portuguese 

(4) Lastly, the renaissance of Europe in the cru- 
sading age was not only practical but spiritual. Sci- 
ence was at last touched and changed by the new 
life scarcely less than the art of war, or the social 
state of the towns, or the trade of the commercial 
republics. And geography and its kindred were not 
long in feeling some change, though it was very 
slowly realised and made useful. The first notice of 
the magnet in the West Is of about 1180; the use of 
this by sailors is perhaps rightly dated from the 
thirteenth century and the discoveries of AmalphL 

But to return. We must trace more definitely the 
preparation which has been generally described for 
the work of Prince Henry first in the pilgrim-war- 
riors, and the travellers of the New Age, merchants 
or preachers or sight-seers, who follow out the East- 

1300] Expansion through the Crusades, 81 

ern land-routes ; next in the seamen who begin to 
break the spell of the Western Ocean and to open 
up the high seas, the true high-roads of the world ; 
lastly in the students who most of all, in their maps 
and globes and instruments and theories, are the 
trainers and masters and spiritual ancestors of the 
Hero of Discovery. 

The first of these classes supplied the matter, 
the attractions and rewards of the exploring move- 
ment ; the others may be said to provide the form 
by which success was reached, genius in seamanship. 

And the one was as much needed as the other. 

Human reason did its work so well because of a 
reasonable hope ; men crept round Africa in face 
of the Atlantic storms because of the golden East 

It was as we have seen the land travellers of the 
twelfth and thirteenth and fourteenth centuries who 
laid open that golden East to Europe, and added in- 
spiring knowledge to a dream and a tradition. And of 
these land travellers the first worth notice are Ssewulf 
of Worcester, Adelard of Bath, and Daniel of Kiev, 
three of that host of peaceful pilgrims who followed 
the conquerors of the First Crusade (1096-9). All 
of these left their recollections and all of them are 
of the new time, in sharp contrast with the hordes 
of earlier pilgrims, even the most recent, like Bishop 
Ealdred of Worcester and York, who crowned Wil- 
liam the Conqueror, or Sweyn Godwmeson or Thorer 
Hund, whose visits are all mere visits of penitence. 
Every fresh conversion of the Northern nations 
brought a fresh stream of devotees to Italy and to 

82 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1100- 

Syria, a fresh revival of the fourth century habit of 
pilgrimage; but when mediaeval Christendom had 
been formed, and religious passion was more steady 
and less unworldly, the discoverer and observer 
blends with the pilgrim in all the records left to us. 

Saewulf was a layman and a trader, who went on a 
pilgrimage (i 102), and became a monk at the instance 
of his confessor, Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester. But 
though his narrative has been called an immense 
advance on all earlier guide-books, it ends with the 
Holy Land and does not touch even the outlying 
pilgrim sites, in Mesopotamia or Egypt, visited and 
described by Silvia or Fidelis. 

Starting some three years after the Latin capture 
of Jerusalem in 1099, the English traveller describes 
six different routes from Italy to Syria, evidence 
of the vast development of Mediterranean intercourse 
and of practical security against pirates, gained very 
largely since the second millennium began. 

His own way, by Monopoli, Corfu, Corinth, and 
Athens, took him to Rhodes " which once had the 
Idol called Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of 
the World, but destroyed by the Persians, with 
nearly all the land of Roumania, on their way to 
Spain. These were the Colossians to whom St. Paul 

Thence to Myra in Lycia, " the port of the Adri- 
atic as Constantinople is of the Jigean." 

Landing at Jaffa, after a sail of thirteen weeks, 
Saewulf was soon among the wonders of Jerusalem, 
that had not grown less since Arculf s day. At the 
head of the Sepulchre Church was the famous 

1300] Expansion through Land Travel* 85 

Navel of the Earth, <4 now called Compas, which 
Christ measured with Ills own hands, working sal- 
vation in the midst, as say the Psalms." For the 
same legends were backed by the same texts as in 
the sixth or seventh century. 

Going down to the Jordan, " four leagues east of 
Jericho/* Arabia was seen beyond " hateful to all 
who worship God, but having the Mount whence 
Elias was carried into Heaven in a chariot of fire." 

Eighteen days journey from the Jordan is Mount 
Sinai, by way of Hebron, where " Abraham's Holm 
Oak " was still standing* and where, as pilgrims said, 
he "sat and ate with God/' but Saewulf himself did 
not go outside Palestine, on this side. After travel- 
ling through Galilee and noting the House of Saint 
Archi-Triclin (Saint " Ruler-of-t he-Feast "), at Cana, 
he made his way to Byzantium by sea, escaping the 
Saracen cruisers and weathering the storms that 
wrecked in the roads of Jaffa before his eyes some 
twenty of the pilgrim and merchant fleet then lying 
at anchor. But not only can we see from this how 
the religious and commercial traffic of the Mediter- 
ranean had been increased by the Crusades; the 
main lines of that traffic had been changed. Since 
the Moslem conquest, visitors had mostly come to 
Palestine through "Egypt ; the Christian conquest of 
Syria re-opened the direct sea route as the conversion 
of Hungary and north-east Europe had re-opened 
the direct land route one hundred years before 
(c. 1000-1100). The lines of the Danube valley and 
of the " Roman Sea " were both cleared, and the West 
again poured itself into the East as it had not done 

84 Prince Henry the Navigator. moo- 

since Alexander's conquest, since the Oriental re- 
action had set in about the time of the Christian 
era, rising higher and higher into the full tide of the 
Persian and Arabian revivals of Asiatic Empire. 

Among the varied classes of pilgrim-crusaders in 
Saewulf s day were student-devotees like Adelard 
and Daniel from the two extremes of Christendom, 
England and Russia, Bath and Kiev ; northern sea- 
kings like Sigurd, or Robert of Normandy ; even 
Jewish travellers, rabbis, or merchants like Benjamin 
of Tudela. All these, as following in the wake of the 
First Crusade, and for the most part stopping at the 
high-water mark of its advance, belong to the same 
group and time and impulse as Ssewulf himself, and 
are clearly marked off from the great thirteenth 
century travellers, who acted as pioneers of the 
Western Faith and Empire rather than as camp- 
followers of its armies. 

But except Abbot Daniel (c. 1106) and Rabbi 
Benjamin (c. 1160-73) who stand apart, none of our 
other pilgrim examples of twelfth century exploration 
have anything original or remarkable about them. 

Adelard or Athelard, the countryman of Ssewulf 
and Willibald, is still more the herald of Roger Bacon 
and of Neckam. He is a theorist far more than a 
traveller, and his journey through Egypt and Arabia 
(c. 1 1 10-14) appears mainly as one of scientific inter- 
est. " He sought the causes of all things and the 
mysteries of Nature/* and it was with * ' a rich spoil 
of letters/* especially of Greek and Arab manuscripts, 
that he returned to England to translate into Latin 
one of the chief works of Saracen astronomy, the 


13001 Expansion through the Crusades. 85 

Kharizmian tables. We have already met with him 
In trying to follow the transmission of Greek and 
Indian geography or world-science through the 
Arabs to Europe and to Christendom. 

Abbot Daniel of Kiev in himself Is a very ordi- 
nary and rather mendacious traveller, a harmless, 
devout pilgrim, as careless in all matters of fact as 
Antonlne the Martyr. But, as representing the be- 
ginnings of Russian expansion, he is of almost unique 
interest and value. His tract upon the Holy Road 
is one of the first proofs of his people's Interest In 
the world beyond their steppes, and of that nation's 
readiness and purpose to expand Christian civilisa- 
tion In the East as the Franks, after breaking through 
the Western Moslems, were now doing. Mediaeval 
Russia, Russia before the Tartars, after the North- 
men, was now a very different thing from the "people 
fouler than dogs " of the Arab explorers. The 
House of Ruric had guided and organised a nation 
second to none In Europe, till It had fallen into the 
general lines of Christian development. Jury trial 
and justices in assize it had taken from the West; 
its church and faith and architecture, its manners and 
morals came to It from the court of the Roman 
Empire on the Bosphorus. Daniel and the other 
Russians, who passed through that Empire in the age 
of Nestor for trade or for religion, were the vanguard 
of a great national and race expansion that is now 
just beginning to " bestride the world." 

In 1022 and 1062 two monks of Kiev are recorded, 
out of a crowd of the unknown, as visitors to Syria, 
and about n 06, probably through the news of the 

86 Prince Henry the Navigator. moo- 

Prankish conquest, Daniel left his native river, the 
Snow, in Little Russia, and passed through Byzan- 
tium and by way of the Archipelago and Cyprus to 
Jaffa and Jerusalem, describing roughly in versts or 
half-miles the whole distance and that of every 

His tone is much like Saewulfs and his mistakes 
are quite as bad, though he tells of " nothing but 
what was seen with these self-same eyes." The 
"Sea of Sodom exhales a burning and fetid breath 
that lays waste all the country, as with burning 
sulphur, for the torments of Hell lie under it." This, 
however, he did not see ; Saracen brigands prevented 
him, and he learnt that " the very smell of the place 
would make one ill." 

His measurements of distance are all his own. 
Capernaum Is " in the desert, not far from the Great 
Sea (Levant) and eight versts (four miles) from 
Csesarea," half the distance given in the next chapter 
as between Acre and Haifa, and less than half the 
breadth of the Sea of Tiberias. The Jordan reminds 
Daniel of his own river, the Snow, especially in its 
sheets of stagnant water. 

Samaria, or " Sebastopol/' he confuses with Na- 
blous; Bethshan with Bashan ; Lydda with Ramleh ; 
Csesarea Philippi with the greater Caesarea on the coast. 
Not far from Capernaum and the Jordan is " another 
large river that comes out of the Lake of Gennesaret, 
and falls into the Sea of Tiberias, passing by a large 
town called Decapolis." From Mt. Lebanon "six 
rivers flow east into the Lake of Gennesaret and six 
west towards great Antioch, so that this is called 

1300] Expansion through Land Travel. 87 

Mesopotamia, or the land between the rivers, and 
Abraham's Haran is between these rivers that feed 
the Lake of Gennesaret." 

Daniel has left us also an account of his visits to 
Mar Saba Con vent in the Kedron gorge near the Dead 
Sea, to Damascus in the train of Prince Baldwin, 
and to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre In Jerusa- 
lem, to witness the miracle of the Holy Fire, noticed 
by Bernard the Wise, as a sort of counterpart to the 
wonder of Beth-Horon, also retold by Daniel " when 
the sun stood still while Joshua conquered King Og 
of Bashan." 

It is not In outlook nor in knowledge nor even in 
the actual ground traversed that these later pilgrims 
shew any advance on the chief of the earlier trav- 
ellers ; It Is In the new life and movement, in the 
new hope they give us of greater things than 
these. This Is the Interest to us In King Sigurd 
of Norway (1107-11), a Crusader-Norseman in the 
new age that owed so much of Its very life to the 
Northmen, but who Is only to be noticed here as 
a possible type of the explorer-chief possible, not 
actual for his voyage added nothing definite to 
the knowledge or expansion of Christendom. His 
campaign In Jacob's Land or Gallicia, and his attack 
on Moslem Lisbon, some forty years before it became 
the head and heart of Portugal, like his exploits In 
the Balearics, shew us a point In the steady decline 
of western Islam, and so far may be called a pre- 
paration for Prince Henry *s work, but properly as 
a chapter of Portuguese, not of general European, 

88 Prince Henry the Navigator. ntoo- 

There were many others like Sigurd, Robert of 
Normandy, Godric the English pirate, who fought 
his way through the Saracen fleets with a spear-shaft 
for his banner, Edgar the JEtheling, grandson of 
Edmund Ironside, the Dartmouth fleet of 1 147 which 
retook Lisbon, but the Latin conquest of Syria 
has now brought us past the Crusades, In the nar- 
rower sense, to their results, in the exploration of the 
Further East 

The first great name of this time, of our next 
main chapter of Preparation, is Benjamin of Tudela, 
but standing as he does well within the earlier age, 
when the primary interest was the Holy War itself, 
he Is also the last of the Palestine travellers of 
those Westerns whose real horizon was the sacred 
East of Syria. He is a little before the awakening 
of universal interest in the unknown world, for 
the Christian Northmen lost with the new definite- 
ness of the new faith much of their old infinite un- 
rest and fierce inquisitive love of wandering, and their 
spirit, though related to the whole Catholic West by 
the crusading movement, was not fully realised till 
the world had been explored and made known, till 
the men of Europe were at home in every country 
and on every sea. 

Benjamin, as a Jew and a rabbi, has the interest 
of a sectary, and his work was not of a kind that 
would readily win the attention of the Christian 
world. So the value of his travels was hidden till 
religious divisions had ceased to govern the direc- 
tion of progress. He visited the Jewish communi- 
ties from Navarre to Bagdad, and described those 

13001 Expansion through tJie Crusades. 89 

beyond from Bagdad to China, but he wrote for his 
own people and none but they seem to have cared 
about him. What he discovered (c. 1160-73) was 
for himself and for Judaism, and only his actual place 
in the twelfth century makes him a fore-runner of 
the Polos or of Prince Henry. We may see this 
from his hopeless strangeness and confusion in 
Rome, like a Frank in Pekin or Delhi. "The 
Church of St. Peter is on the site of the great palace 
of Julius Caesar, near which are eighty Halls of 
the eighty Kings called Emperors from Tarquin to 
Pepin the father of Charles, who first took Spain 
from the Saracens. ... In the outskirts of the 
city is the palace of Titus, who was deposed by three 
hundred senators for wasting three years over the 
siege of Jerusalem which he should have finished in 

And so on with the " Hall of Galba, three miles 
round and having a window for each day in the year/* 
with St. John Lateran and its Hebrew trophies, " two 
copper pillars from the temple of Solomon, that 
sweat at the anniversary of the burning of the 
Temple," and the "statues of Samson and of Absa- 
lom " in the same place. So with Sorrento, " built by 
Hadarezer when he fled before King David," with 
the old Roman tunnel between Naples and Pozzuolf, 
"built by Romulus who feared David and Joab," 
with Apulia, " which is from King Pul of Assyria n 
in all this we have as it ivere Catholic mythology 
turned inside out, David put into Italy when the 
West put Trajan at the sources of the Nile. It was 
not likely that writing of this sort would be read in 

go Prince Henry the Navigator, [1100- 

the society of the Popes and the Schoolmen, the friars 
and the crusaders, any more than the Buddhist re- 
cords of missionary travel from China one thousand 
years before. The religious passion which had set 
the crusaders in motion, would keep Catholics as 
long as it might from the Jews, Turks, infidels, and 
heretics they conquered and among whom they 

But with the final loss of Jerusalem by the Latins, 
and the overthrow of the Bagdad Caliphate by the 
Mongol Tartars (1258), the barrier of fanatic hatred 
was weakened, and Central Asia became an attraction 
to Christendom instead of a dim horror, without 
form and void, except for Huns and Turks and de- 
mons. The Papal court sent mission after mission to 
convert the Tartars, who were wavering, as men sup- 
posed, between Islam and the Church, and with the 
first missionaries to the House of Ghenghiz went the 
first Italian merchants who opened, the court of the 
Great Khan to Venice and to Genoa. 

As early as 1243 an Englishman is noticed as liv- 
ing among the Western Horde, the conquerors of 
Russia; but official intercourse begins in 1246 
with John de Piano CarpinL This man, a Fran- 
ciscan of Naples, started In 1245 as the Legate of 
Pope Innocent IV. to the Tartars, took the north- 
ern overland route through Germany and Poland, 
reached Kiev, "the metropolis of Russia," through 
help of the Duke of Cracow, and at last appeared 
in the camp of Batou, on the Volga. Hence by the 
Sea of Aral, "of moderate size with many islands," 
to the court of Batou's brother, the Great Khan 

13001 Expansion through Land Travel. gi 

"Cuyuc" himself, where the Christian stranger 
found himself one of a crowd of four thousand en- 
voys from every part of Asia (1246). 

After sixteen months Carpini made his way back 
by the same route, " over the plains " and through 
Kiev, to give at Rome the first genuine account of 
Tartary, in its widest sense ? from the Dnieper to 
China (1247). 

The great rivers and lakes and mountains of Rus- 
sia and Turkestan, the position and distribution of 
the land and Its peoples, " even from the Caspian to 
the Northern Ocean, where men are said to have 
dogs* faces," are now first described by an honest and 
clear-headed and keen-eyed observer, neither timid 
nor credulous. 

Carpini really begins the reliable western map of 
Further Asia. His personal knowledge did not 
reach China or India, but in his Book of the Tartars, 
Europe was told nearly the whole truth, and almost 
nothing but the truth, about the vast tract and the 
great races between the Carpathians and the Gobi 
Desert. In the same was included the first fair ac- 
count of the manners and history of the " Mongols 
whom we call Tartars," and the simple truthfulness 
of the Friar stands out in all the allusions that make 
his work so human ; his interviews with the Tartar 
Chiefs and with brother-travellers, his dangers and 
difficulties from Lettish robbers and abandoned or 
guarded ferries, his passage of the Dnieper on the 
ice, his last three weeks on " trotting "* hacks over 
the steppes. 

* " Tartar i fecerwit equos nostros tratare" 

92 Prince Henry the Navigator. [iioo- 

We have gone a good way from Abbot Daniel, 
for in John de Piano Carpini Christian Europe has at 
last a real explorer, a real historian, a genuine man of 
science, in the service of the Church and of discovery. 

Carpini was followed after six years by William 
de Rubruquis, a Fleming sent by St. Louis of 
France on the same errand of conversion and dis- 
covery (1253), but by a different route, through the 
Black Sea, and Cherson, over the Don " at the Head 
of Azov, that divides Europe and Asia, as the Nile 
divides Asia and Africa," to the great camp on the 
Volga, " the greatest river I had ever seen, which 
comes from Great Bulgaria in the north and falls 
into a lake (the Caspian Sea), that would take four 
months to journey round/* Higher In their course 
the Don and the Volga "are not more than ten 
days' journey apart, but diverge as they run south." 
The Caspian is " made out of the Volga and the 
rivers that flow into it from Persia." Thence 
through the Iron Gates of Derbend, between the 
Caspian and the Caucasus, " which Alexander made 
to shut the barbarians out of Persia/' Helped by 
a Nestorian, who possessed influence at the Tartar 
Court, like so many of his Church, Rubruquis 
reached the " Alps " of the Altai country, where he 
found a small Nestorian lordship, governed like the 
Papal States, by a priest, who was at least one original 
of the great mediaeval phantom Prester John. 

Crossing the great steppes of eastern "Tartary," 
"like the rolling sea to look at/' Rubruquis at last 
reached the Mongol headquarters at Caracorum, 
satisfied on the way that the Caspian had no northern 


1300] Marco Polo and His Successors. 93 

outlet, as Strabo and Isidore had Imagined. Thence 
he made his way home without much fresh result. 

Though Rubruquis Is well called the most bril- 
liant and literary of the mediaeval travellers, his 
mission was fruitless, and the interest of his work 
lay rather in recording custom and myth in soci- 
ology than in adding anything definite to the geo- 
graphical knowledge of the West. John de Piano 
had already been over the ground to Caracorum, 
and recorded all the main characteristics of the lands 
west of the Gobi Desert. The further advance, east 
to China, south to India, was yet to come. 

But while Rubruquis was still among the Tartars, 
Nicolo and Matteo Polo, the uncles of the more 
famous Marco, were trading (1255-65) to the Crimea 
and the districts of southern Russia that were now 
under the Western Horde, and soon after, follow- 
ing the caravans to Bokhara, they w r ere drawn on to 
the court of Kublai Khan, then somewhere near 
the wall of China. After a most friendly reception 
they were sent back to Europe with presents and a 
letter to Pope Clement IV., offering a welcome and 
maintenance to Christian teachers. Kublai " had 
often questioned the Polos of the Western lands," 
and now he asked for one hundred " Latins, to 
shew him the Christian faith, for Christ he held to 
be the only God.** Furnished with the imperial 
passport of the Golden Tablet, our merchants made 
their way back to Acre in April, 1269. 

They found the old pope dead, Gregory X. in his 
place, and he shewed a coolness in answering the 
Khan's requests, but in 1271 they set out on their 

94 Prince Henry the Navigator. [iioo- 

second journey to the furthest East, taking with 
them two friar preachers and their nephew Marco, 
now nineteen years of age. 

In Armenia the friars took alarm at the troubled 
state of the nearer East and turned back, just as 
Augustine of Canterbury tried to find a way out of 
the mission to the English that Pope Gregory I. 
laid upon him in 597- For the Church it was per- 
haps as momentous a time now as then ; the thir- 
teenth century, if it had ended in the Christianising 
of the Mongol Empire, would have turned the 
Catholic victory of the fourth and sixth centuries in 
the West, the victory that had been worked out in 
the next seven hundred years to fuller and fuller reali- 
sation, into a world empire, which did come at last 
for European civilisation, but not for Christendom. 

The Polos however kept on their way north-east for 
more than " one thousand days," three years and a 
half, till they stood in the presence of Kublai Khan, 
beyond Gobi and the Great Wall and the mountain 
barriers of China, in Cambaluc or Pekin, " princess 
encrowned of cities capital." 

Their journey was first through Armenia Lesser 
and Greater, then through Mosul (Nineveh) to 
Bagdad, where the last " Caliph and Pope of the 
Saracens" had been butchered by Holgalu and his 
Tartars, sewn in a sack and thrown into the Tigris 
by one account, walled up alive by another, in 1258. 
But though the stories in Marco's journal are a 
main interest of his work, as a summary and reflec- 
tion of the science and history and general culture 
of the Christian world of his time, we must not here 

1300] Marco Polo and His Successors, 95 

look outside his geography. And his first place-note 
of value Is on the Caspian, " which contalneth in circuit 
twenty-eight hundred miles and Is like a lake, having 
no union with other seas and In which are many is- 
lands, cities, and castles/* The extent of the Nestorian 
missions, " through all parts of India and to Cairo 
and Bagdad, and wherever Christians dwell/* strikes 
him even now at the beginning of his travels 
much more when he finds their churches on the 
Hoang Ho and the Yang-Tse-KIang declining In- 
deed, but still living to witness to the part which 
that great heresy had played as an intermediary 
between the further and the nearer East a part 
which history has never yet worked out. Entering 
Persia as traders, the Polos went naturally to Ormuz, 
already the great mart of Islam for the Indian trade, 
where Europeans really entered the third, and, to 
them, unknown belt of the world, after passing from 
a zone of known home-land through one of enemies* 
country, known and only known as such. Failing to 
take the sea route at Ormuz for China, as they had 
hoped, our Italians were obliged to strike back north- 
east, through Persia and the Pamir, the Kashgar 
district and the Gobi steppes, to Cathay and the 
pleasure domes of Kublai, visiting Caracorum 
and the Altai country on the way, by a turn due 
north. In 1275 they were in Shang-tu, the Xanadu * 

* In Xanadu did Kublai Khan 
A stately pleasure-dome decree, 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran, 
Through caverns measureless to man, 

Down to a sacred sea. 

COLERIDGE ; JZublai Jfhan* 

96 Prince Henry the Navigator. moo- 

of Coleridge the summer capital of Kublai Khan 
and not till 1292 did they get leave to turn their 
faces to the West once more. 

Here the Polos became what may be called con- 
sulting engineers to the Mongol Court ; Marco was 
even made in 1277 a commissioner of the Imperial 
Council, and soon after sent upon government 
missions to Yunnan in extreme south-west China 
and to Yangchow city. 

The greater part of Marco's own memoirs is 
taken up with his account of the thirty-four provinces 
of the Tartar Empire that centred round the " six 
parts of Cathay and the nine parts of Mangi," the 
districts of northern and southern China as we know 
them, an account of the roads, rivers, and towns, the 
trade, the Court and the Imperial Ports, the customs 
and manner of life among the subject peoples In that 
Empire, perhaps the largest ever known. Especially 
do the travellers dwell on the public roads from 
Pekin or Cambaluc through all the provinces, the 
ten thousand Royal inns upon the highways, the two 
hundred thousand horses kept for the public service, 
the wonderful speed of transit in the Great Khan's 
embassages, " so that they could go from Pekin to 
the wall of China in two days." 

But scarcely less is said about the great rivers 
the arteries of Chinese commerce, even more than 
the caravan routes, above all, the Yang-Tse-Kiang, 
"the greatest stream in the world, like an arm of 
the sea, flowing above one hundred "days' journey 
from its source into the ocean, and into which flow 
countless others, making it so great that incredible 

1300] Marco Polo and His Successors* 97 

quantities of merchandise are brought by this river, 
It flows/* exclaims Marco, " through sixteen prov- 
inces, past the quays of two hundred cities, at one of 
which I saw at one time five thousand vessels, and 
there are other marts that have more." 

The breadth and depth and length and merchan- 
dise of the Pulisangan and the Caramaran are only 
less than the Kiang's ; from the point where Marco 
crossed the second of these, there was not another 
bridge till it reached the ocean, hundreds of miles 
away, " by reason of its exceeding greatness." 

Lastly Pekin, the capital of the Empire, with 
Quinsai and the other provincial capitals of Mangi 
and Cathay, call out the unbounded admiration of 
the Polos as of every other Western traveller, from 
the Moslem Ibn Batuta to the Christian friars of 
the fourteenth century. 

Pekin, two days* journey from the ocean, the 
residence of the Court in December, January, and 
February, in the extreme north-east of Cathay, had 
been lately rebuilt in a " central square of twenty- 
four miles in compass, and twelve suburbs, three 
or four miles long, adjoining each of the twelve 
gates," where merchants and strangers lived, each 
nation with separate " burses" or store-houses, where 
they lodged. From this centre to the land of Gog 
and Magog and the champaign-land of Bargu, the 
Great Khan travelled every year in midsummer for 
the fresh air of the plateau country of central Asia, 
as well as for a better view of the great Russian 
and Bactrian sub-kingdoms of his House. The six 
months of spring and autumn were spent in slow 

98 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1100- 

progresses through central and southern China to 
Thibet on one side, and to Tonquin on the other. 
But greater even than Pekin, Quinsai, or Kansay, 
the City of Heaven, in southern China, though 
no longer the capital even of a separate Kingdom 
of Mangi, was the crowning work of Chinese civilisa- 
tion. It surpassed the other cities of Kublai, as 
much as these over-shadowed the Rome or Venice 
of the thirteenth century. 

" In the world there is not its like, for by common ' 
report it is one hundred miles in circuit, with a lake 
on one side and a river on the other, divided in 
many channels and upon these and the canals ad- 
joining twelve thousand bridges of stone ; there are 
ten market places, each half a mile square; great 
store-houses of stone, where the Indian merchants 
lay by their goods; palaces and gardens on both 
sides of the main street, which, like all the highways 
in Mangi, is paved with stone on each side, and in 
the midst full of gravel, with passages for the water, 
which keeps it always clean." Salt, silk, fruit, pre- 
cious stones, and cloth of gold are the chief com- 
modities; the paper money of the Great Khan is 
used everywhere ; all the people, except a few Nes- 
torians and Moslems, are " idolaters, so luxurious and 
so happy that a man would think himself in Paradise/* 

It was only in recent years that Kublai, or his gen- 
eral, Baian, had captured Quinsai and driven out the 
King of Mangi with his seraglio and his friends. The 
exile till then had only thought of pleasure, of wine, 
women, and song, the "sweet meat which cost him 
the souf sauce ye have heard/' but on the approach 

13001 Marco Polo and His Successors. 99 

of danger, had fled on board the ships he had pre- 
pared to " certain impregnable isles in the ocean/* and 
if these impregnable islands may be identified with 
Zipangu or Japan, the conquerors pursued him even 
here. There is nothing more interesting in Polo's 
book than his story of the Mongol failure in the East- 
ern islands, fifteen hundred miles from the coast of 
Mangi, now first discovered to Christian knowledge. 

This country of Japan, "very great, the people 
white, of gentle manners, idolaters in religion, under 
a King of their own/' was attacked by Kublai's fleet 
in 1264 for the gold they had, and had in such plenty 
that "the King's house, windows, and floors were 
covered with it, as churches here with lead, as was 
reported by merchants but these were few and the 
King allowed no exportation of the gold." 

The expedition was as disastrous a failure as the 
old Athenian attack upon Sicily, and was not re- 
peated, although fleets were sent by the Great Khan 
after this into the Southern Seas, which were sup. 
posed to have made a discovery of Papua, if not of the 
Australian Continent. " In this Sea of China, over 
against Mangi/' Marco reported, from hearsay " of 
mariners and expert pilots, are 7440 islands, most of 
them inhabited, whereon grows no tree that yields 
not a pleasant smell spices, lignum-aloes, and pep- 
per, black and white." The ships of Zaitum (the 
great Chinese mart for Indian trade) knew this sea 
and its islands, " for they go every winter and return 
every summer, taking a year on the voyage, and all 
this though it is far from India and not subject to 
the Great Khan." 

ioo Prince Henry the Navigator. moo- 

But not only did Polo in these sections of his 
Guide Book or Memories of Travel, record the 
main features of a coast and ocean scarcely guessed 
at by Europeans, and flatly denied by Ptolemy and 
the main traditional school of Western geography. In 
his service under Kublai, and in his return by sea to 
Aden and Suez, he opened up the eight provinces of 
Thibet, the whole of south-east Asia from Canton to 
Bengal, and the great archipelago of further India. 

Four days' journey beyond the Yang-Tse-Kiang, 
Marco entered "the wide country of Thibet, van- 
quished and wasted by the Khan for the space of 
twenty days' journey, and become a wilderness want- 
ing inhabitants, where wild beasts are excessively 
increased/' Here he tells us of the Yak-oxen and 
great Thibetan dogs as great as asses, of the musk 
deer, and spices, " and salt lakes having beds of 
pearls/' and of the cruel and bestial idolatry and 
social customs of the people. 

Still farther to the south-west, Commissioner Polo 
came to the Cinnamon river, called Brius, on the 
borders of the province of Caindu, to the porcelain- 
making districts of Carazan, governed by Kublai's 
son, and so to Bengal, " which borders upon India/' 
and where Marco laughs at the tattoo customs of 
" flesh embroidery for the dyeing of fools' skins." 

Thence back to China, the richest and most 
famous country of all the East, where was " peace 
so absolute that shops could be left open full of 
wares all night and travellers and strangers could 
walk day and night through every part, untouched 
and fearing none/' 

1300] Marco Polo and His Successors. 101 

But the Polos wearied even of the Court favours 
and their celestial home ; they longed to come back 
to earth, to Frankland and Christendom, where life 
was so rough, and poor, and struggling, but for 
whose sake they had come so far and braved so 
much. But the Khan was hurt at the least hint of 
their wishes, and it was only a fortunate chance that 
restored them to Europe. Twenty years after their 
outward start, they were dismissed for a time and 
under solemn promise of return, as the guides of an 
embassy in charge of a Mongol bride for a Persian 
Khan, living at Tabrez and related to Kublai him- 
self. So, in 1292, they embarked for India at Zai- 
tum, " one of the fairest ports in the world, where is 
so much pepper that what comes by Alexandria to 
the West is little to it, and, as it were, one of a hun- 
dred." Then striking across the Gulf of Cheinan, for 
fifteen hundred miles, and passing " infinite islands, 
with gold and much trade," a gulf " seeming in all 
like another world" they reached Ziambar and, 
after another run of the same distance, Java, then 
supposed by mariners to be the greatest island in 
the world, "above three thousand miles round 
and under a king who pays tribute to none, the 
Khan himself not offering to subject It, because 
of the length and danger of the voyage." 

One hundred miles south-east the fleet touched at 
Java the Less "in compass about two thousand 
miles, with, abundance of treasure and spices, ebony, 
and brazil, and so far to the south that the North 
Star cannot be seen, and none of the stars of the 
Great Bear." Here they were in great fear of 

IO2 Prince Henry the Navigator. moo- 

"those brutish man eaters," with whom they traded 
for victuals and camphire and spices and precious 
stones, being forced to stay for five months by stress of 
weather till they got away into the Bay of Bengal, 
"where there are savages living in the deep sea 
islands with dogs' heads and teeth, as I was told, 
all naked, both men and women, and living the life 
of beasts (Andamans)." * 

Sailing hence a thousand miles to the west, adds 
Marco, is Ceylon, " the finest island in the world, 
2400 miles in circuit, and once 3600, as is seen in old 
maps, but the north winds have made great part of 
it sea." 

Again west for sixty miles, to Malabar, "which is 
firm continent in India the Greater/' and where the 
Polos re-entered as it were the horizon of Western 
knowledge, at the shrine of St. Thomas, the Apostle 
of India. 

Here we must leave the Venetians, with only a 
bare mention of their homeward route from Malabar 
by Murfili and the Valley of Diamonds, by Camari, 
where they had a glimpse of the Pole-Star once more, 
and by Guzerat and Cambay to Socotra, where 
Marco, in his stay, heard and wrote down the first 
news ever brought to Europe of the "great isle 
Magaster," or Madagascar, and of Zensibar or 

* Probably the Andamans. 

\ This new knowledge had been really gained from the gradual 
spread of the Arab settlements down the south-east coast of Africa, 
during four centuries, from Guardafui, the Cape of spices, to the 
Channel of Mozambique. 

13003 Marco Polo and His Successors* 103 

Of Polo's account of Hindu customs, self-immola- 
tion and especially Suttee, of Caste, of the Brahmin- 
ical " thread with one hundred and four beads by 
\vhich to pray " ; of their etiquette in eating, drink- 
ing, birth, marriage, and death only the simple fact 
can be noticed here, that the first serious and direct 
Christian account of India, as of China, is also among 
the most accurate and well judged, and that both in 
what he says and \vhat he leaves unsaid, Messer 
Marco is a true Herodotus of the Middle Ages. 

But not only does his account discover for Europe 
the extreme east and south of Asia; in his last 
chapter he returns to the Tartars, and after adding 
a few words on the nomades of the central plains, 
gives us our first "Latin" account of Siberia, 
" where are found great white bears, black foxes, 
and sables ; and where are great lakes, frozen except 
for a few months in the year, and crossed in sledges 
by the fur-traders/' 

Beyond this the Obscure Land reaches to the 
furthest North, " near which is Russia, where for 
the most of winter the sun, appears not, and the air 
is thick and dark as betimes in the morning with us, 
where the men are pale and squat and live like the 
beasts, and where on the East men come again to 
the Ocean Sea and the islands of the Falcons." 

The work of Marco Polo is the high-water mark of 
mediaeval land travel ; the extension of Christendom 
after him was mainly by the paths of the sea ; the 
Roman missions to the Tartars and to Malabar, 
vigorously and stubbornly pressed as they were, 
ended in unrelieved collapse ; only by the revolt and 

IO4 Prince Henry the Navigator. - L HOO- 

resurrection of the Russian kingdom did the Euro, 
pean world permanently and markedly expand on 
the side of Asia. But a crowd of missionaries fol- 
lowed the first traders to Cathay and to Mangi 
Friar Odoric, John de Monte Corvino, John de Cora ; 
statesmen like Marignolli the Papal Legate, sight- 
seers like Mandeville followed these ; Bishop Jordanus 
of Capua worked for years in Coulam near Cape 
Comorin (c. 1325-35) ; the martyrdom of four friars 
on April I, 1322, at Tana, in India, became one of 
the great commemorations of the Latin Church; 
there seemed no cause why Christian missions which 
had won north and north-east Europe should not 
win central and eastern Asia, whose peoples seemed 
as indifferent, as agnostic, as our own Norse or 
English pagans. 

" The fame of the Latins/' says Jordanus, about 
1330 and he is borne out by Marino Sanuto "is 
greater in India than among ourselves. Here our 
arrival is always looked for, and said to be predicted 
in their books. Once gain Egypt and launch a fleet 
even of two galleys on this sea and the battle is won.*' 
As Egypt could not be gained by arms, it was turned 
by seamanship. Before Polo returned from China, 
the coasting of Africa had begun, and Italian mari- 
ners were already in search of the longer way to the 

But there is no work of land travel after that of 
Messer Marco which really adds anything decisive to 
European knowledge before the fifteenth century ; 
the advance of trade intercourse between India and 
the Italian Republics, the gradual liberation of Rus 

1300] Marco Polo and His Successors. 105 

sia, the use made of the caravan routes by some of 
the most active of the Western clergy, are the chief 
notes of the time between the Polos and Prince 
Henry ; and the flimsy fabrications of Mandeville 
" of all liars that type of the first magnitude " would 
be fairly left without a word even In a minute his- 
tory of discovery, if he had not, like Ktesias with 
Herodotus, won a hearing for himself and drawn 
men's minds away from the truth-telling original that 
he travestied, by the sheer force of Impudence. 

The Indian travels of the Italian Nicolo Conti and 
the Russian merchant Athanasius Nikitin belong to 
a later time, to the age of the Portuguese voyages ; 
they are not part of the preparation for our central 
subject, they are only a somewhat obscure parallel 
to that subject. 

For In the later Middle Ages the chief interest 
lies elsewhere. The expansion of Christendom In 
the fourteenth century, and still more in the fifteenth 
(Prince Henry's own), Is the story of the ventures 
and the successes, not so much of landsmen, as of 
mariners. . 


CIRCA 1250-1410. 

|TALIAN, Catalan, French, and Eng- 
lish sailors were the forerunners of 
the Portuguese in the fourteenth cen- 
tury, and the latter years of the thir- 
teenth. And as in land travel, so in 
maritime, the republics of Italy, 
Amalphi, Pisa, Venice, and Genoa, were the leaders 
and examples of Europe. Just as the Italian Dante 
is the first great name in the new literatures of the 
West, so the Italian Dorias and Vivaldi and Malocelli 
are the first to take up again the old Greek and 
Phoenician enterprise in the ocean. Since Hanno of 
Carthage and Pharaoh Necho's Tyrians, there had 
been nothing in the nature of a serious trial to find 
a way round Africa, and even the knowledge of the 
Western or Fortunate Islands, so clear to Ptolemy 
and Strabo, had become dim. The Vikings and 
their crusader-followers had done nothing south of 
Gibraltar Straits. 

But while the Crusades were still dragging along 
a weary and hopeless warfare under St. Louis of 



(3EE U3T 0= MAPS) 

Exploration from tJie Xllltk Century. 107 

France and Prince Edward of England, discovery 
began again in the Atlantic. In 1270 Lancelot 
Malocello found the Canaries; in 1281 or 1291 
the Genoese galleys of Tedlsio Dorla and the Vi- 
valdi, trying to " go by sea to the ports of India to 
trade there/* reached Gozora or Cape Non in Bar- 
bary, the southern Ultima Thule, and according to 
a later story " sailed the Sea of Ghinoia (Guinea) to 
a city of ^Ethiopia," where even legend lost sight of 
them, for in 1312 nothing more had been heard. 
From the frequent and emphatic references to this 
attempt in the literature of the later Middle Ages, it is 
clear that the daring Genoese drew upon themselves 
the attention of the learned and mercantile worlds, 
as much as one would naturally expect. For these 
men are the pioneers of Christian explorations in 
the southern world the precursors of all the ocean 
voyages that led to the discoveries of Prince Henry, 
Da Gama, Columbus, and Magellan, the first who 
directly challenged the disheartening theories of 
geographers, such as Ptolemy, the inaction and 
traditionalism of the Arabs, and the elaborate falsi- 
ties of story tellers, who, in the absence of real 
knowledge, had a grand opening for terrible fairy 

The first age, if so it may be called, of South Atlan- 
tic and African voyages was purely Italian ; the sec- 
ond was chiefly marked by the efforts of the Spanish 
States to equip fleets and send out explorers under 
Genoese captains. In 1317 the Genoese Emmanuel 
Pessanha became Admiral of Portugal ; in 1341 three 
ships manned by Portuguese and " other Spaniards " 

io8 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1250- 

with some Italians put out from Lisbon in search of 
Malocello's " Rediscovered " islands, granted by the 
Pope to Don Luis of Spain in a Bull of November 
15, 1334, and now described, from the original letters 
of Florentine merchants and partners in the venture 
of 1341, by Boccaccio. "Land was found on the 
fifth day after leaving the Tagus " (July i) ; the fleet 
stayed till November, and then brought back four 
natives and products of the islands. The chief pilot 
thought these were near nine hundred miles from Se- 
ville, and we may fairly suppose that the archipelago 
of thirteen, now first explored and described, repre- 
sents the Fortunate Islands of Greek geography, the 
Canaries of modern maps, and that the five chief 
islands with their naked but not quite savage people, 
\vith excellent wood houses, and flocks of goats, 
palms, and figs, gardens and corn patches, rocky 
mountains and pine forests, were our Ferro, Palma, 
Gomera, Grand Canary, and Teneriffe. The last they 
took to be thirty thousand feet high, with its white 
scarped sides looking like a fortress, but terrified at 
signs of enchantment they did not dare to land, and 
returned to Spain, leaving the Islands of the Redis- 
covered to be visited as a convenient slave depot by 
merchants and pirates from the Peninsula till the 
Norman Conquest of Bthencourt in 1402. 

The voyage of 1341 gained much by attempting 
little; the Catalan voyage of 1346, which followed 
close upon it, was something of a return to the wilder 
and larger schemes of the first Genoese. On August 
10, 1346, Jayme Ferrer left Majorca "to go to the 
River of Gold/' but of the said galley, says the Cata- 

1410] Exploration from the XHIth Century. 109 

Ian map of 1375, no news has since been heard. 
On the same map, however, the explorers* boat is 
sketched off the i Cape Finisterre of west Africa," 
and there is, after all, some ground for supposing this 
to be nothing more than a mercantile venture to the 
Gold Coast of Guinea, which was becoming known 
to the traders of Nismes, Marseilles, and the Chris- 
tian Mediterranean by the caravan traffic across the 
Sahara. Even Prince Henry began in the same way ; 
Guinea was his half-way house for India. 

About the same date (c. 1350) as the Catalan voy- 
age is the Book of the Spanish Friar, " of the voyage 
south to the River of Gold/* which gives a more than 
half fabulous story of travel, first by sea beyond 
Capes Non and Bojador, then by land across the 
heart of Africa to the Mountains of the Moon, 
the city of Melli, where dwelt Prester John, and 
"the Euphrates, which comes from the terrestrial 
Paradise/* where behind some real notes of Barbary 
coasting, perhaps gained from the Catalans of 1346, 
there is little but a confused transcript of Edrisfs ge- 
ography. Yet this was one of the books which helped 
to fix the notion of a double Nile, Northern and 
Western, a Nile of Egypt and a Nile of the Blacks, 
with a common source in the Mountains of the 
Moon, upon the Christian science of the time, as 
the Arab geographers had fixed it upon Islam. 

The next piece of Atlantic exploration was a ro- 
mantic accident. In the reign of Edward III., an 
Englishman named Robert Machin eloped with 
Anned'Arfet from Bristol (c. 1370), was driven from 
the coast of France by a north-east wind, and after 

I io Prince Henry the Navigator. [1250- 

thirteen days sighted an island, Madeira, where he 
landed. His ship was swept away by the storm, his 
mistress died of terror and exhaustion, and five days 
after Machin was laid beside her by his men, who 
had saved the ship's boat and now ran her upon the 
African coast. They were enslaved, like other 
Christian captives of the Barbary corsairs, but in 
1416 a fellow-prisoner, one Morales of Seville, an 
old pilotj was ransomed with others and sent back 
to Spain. On his way Morales was captured by a 
Portuguese captain, Zarco, the servant of Prince 
Henry, the rediscoverer of Madeira, and through this 
the full story of Machin and his island, came to be 
known in the court of the Navigator Prince, who 
promptly made his gain of the new knowledge a 
lasting one, by the voyage of Zarco in 1420. 

Last among the Immediate predecessors of Prince 
Henry's seamen come the French. In the seven- 
teenth century it was claimed, on newly found evi- 
dence, that between 1364 and 1410 the men of 
Dieppe and Rouen opened a regular trade in gold, 
ivory, and malaguette pepper with the coast of 
Guinea, and built stations at Petit Paris, Petit 
Dieppe, and La Mine, which they named from the 
precious metal found there. But all this is more 
than doubtful, and the genuine Norman voyage of 
De B6thencourt in 1402 shews us nothing but the 
Canaries and the north-west coast of Morocco. Cape 
Non, or Cape Bojador, was still the European Fur- 
thest on the African coast. 

The French Seigneur was stirred up to attack the 
Fortunate Islands by two events. First in 1382 one 

14101 Exploration from the Xllltk Century. 1 1 1 

Lopez, a captain of Seville sailing to Gallicia, was 
driven by a tempest to Grand Canary, and lived 
among the natives seven years till he and his men 
were denounced for writing home and inviting res- 
cue. To stop this intrigue they, the " thirteen Chris- 
tian brothers " whose testament reached Bethencourt 
twelve years later, were all massacred. News of this 
and of the voyage of a Spaniard named Becarra to 
the same islands at the same time, reached Rochelle 
about 1400, and found several French adventurers 
ready for a trial. The chief of these, Jean de Beth- 
encourt, Lord of Grainville, and Gadifer de la Salle, 
a needy knight, started in July, 1402, to conquer in 
the sea a new kingdom for themselves. Though the 
leaders quarrelled and Grand Canary beat off all at- 
tacks, the enterprise was successful in the main, and 
several of the islands became Christian colonies, a 
first step towards the colonial empires of the great 
European expansion, as the record of Bethencourt's 
chaplains is the first chapter of modern colonial 

But nothing Is clearer in this tract than Its limita- 
tions. The French colonists as late as 1425 seem to 
know nothing of the African coast beyond Cape Boja- 
dor ; they look upon the Canaries rather as an ex- 
tension of Spain and of Europe than as the begin- 
ning of a new world. They are anxious to get to 
the River of Gold and traffic there, but they do not 
know the way, save by report. De Bethencourt had 
been to Bojador himself, and " if things in that coun- 
try are such as they are described in the Book of the 
Spanish Friar," he meant to open a way to the River 

1 1 2 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1250- 

of Gold, for, the Friar says, " it is only one hundred 
and fifty leagues from Cape Bojador, and the map 
proves the same which is only a three days' voyage 
for sailing boats whereby access would be gained to 
the land of Prester John, whence come so many 
riches." But as yet our Normans are only " eager 
to know the state of the neighbouring countries, 
both islands and terra firtna : " they do not 
know the coast beyond the " Utmost Cape " of 
Bojador, which had taken the place of the first 
Arab FInisterre, Cape Non,* Nun, or Nam, as the 
limit of navigation. 

We are now at the very time of Prince Henry 
himself; his first voyage was in 1412. De Bethen- 
court died in 1425, and it is quite needless to follow 
out at length the stories, however interesting, of 
sporadic navigation in other parts of the European 
Seas. Between 1380-95 the Venetian Zeni sailed In 
the service of Henry Sinclair, Earl of the Orkneys, 
to Greenland, and brought back fisher stories, which 
read like those of Central America, of its man-eating 
Caribs and splendid barbarism. Somewhat earlier, 
about 1349, Ivar Bardsen of Norway paid one of the 
last of Christian visits to, the Arctic colonies of 
Greenland, the legacy of the eleventh century, now 
sinking into ruin ; but neither of these voyages gives 
us any new knowledge of the Unknown which was 

* Cape Non = -Fish Cape. But Latins took it as = Not, * ' from the 
fact that beyond it there is no return possible." And so the rhyme 
"Who pass Cape Non Must turn again, or else begone" (lit. "or 
not" i. <?., will not be able to return). 

1410] Exploration from ike Xllllh Century. 113 

now being pierced, not from the Xorth and East, 
but from the South and West. 

Both in land travel and sea voyages we have 
traced the progress of Western exploration and 
discovery up to its Hero, the real central figure 
both in the history of Portugal and of the European 
expansion. A little remains to be said on the other 
lines of preparation for his work In scientific theory 
and national development from the Age of the 



CIRCA 11001460. 

BEFORE the Crusades of the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, the scientific 
geography of Christendom, as we 
have seen, was mainly a borrowed 
thing. From the ninth century 
to the time of the Mediaeval and 
Christian Renaissance, in the eleventh, twelfth, 
and thirteenth centuries, the Arabs were the rec- 
ognised heirs of Greek science, and what Franks 
or Latins knew of Ptolemy or Strabo was either 
learnt or corrected in the schools of Cordova and 

But when the Northmen and the Holy War with 
Islam had once thoroughly aroused the practical 
energies of Christendom, it began to expand in 
mind as well as in empire, and in the time of Prince 
Henry, in the fifteenth century, a Portuguese could 
say : " Our discoveries of coasts and islands and 
mainland were not made without foresight and 
knowledge. For our sailors went out very well 


1100-1460] Geographical Science. 115 

taught, and furnished with Instruments and rules of 
astrology and geometry, things which all mariners 
and map-makers must know/* 

In fact, compass, astrolabe, timepiece, and charts, 
were all in use on the Mediterranean about 1400, just 
as they were to be found among the Arab traders of 
the Indian Ocean. 

In this section It will be enough to glance hastily 
at the later and growingly Independent science of 
Christendom, from the time that it ceased merely to 
follow the lead of Islam, and thought and even in- 
vented for itself. In another chapter we have seen 
something of the lasting and penetrating influence 
of Greek and Moslem and Hindu tradition upon the 
Western thought, which has conquered by absorb- 
ing all its rivals; we must not forget that some 
original self-reliant work in geographical theory not 
less than in practical exploration is absolutely needed 
to explain the very fact of Prince Henry and his life 
a student's life, far more even than a statesman's. 
And after all, the invention of instruments, the 
drawing of maps and globes, the reckoning of dis- 
tances, Is not less practical than the most daring 
and successful travel. For navigation, the first 
and prime demand is a means of safety, some 
power of knowing where you stand and where to 
go, such as was given to sailors by the use of the 

" Prlma dedit nautis usum magnetis Amalphis," 
says Beccadelli of Palermo, but the earliest mention 
of the " Black ugly stone " in the West is traced to 
an Englishman. Alexander Neckam, a monk of St, 

1 1 6 Prince Henry t7ie Navigator. cuoo- 

Albans, writing about 1180 on "The Natures of 
Things," tells us of it as commonly used by sailors, 
not merely as the secret of the learned. " When 
they cannot see the sun clearly in cloudy weather, or 
at night, and cannot tell which way their prow Is 
tending, they put a Needle above a Magnet which 
revolves till Its point looks North and then stops.'* 
So the satirist, Guyot de Provins, In his Bible of 
about 1210, wishes the Pope were as safe a point 
to steer by in Faith as the North Star in sailing, 
"which mariners can keep ahead of them, with- 
out sight of it, only by the pointing of a needle 
floating on a straw in water, once touched by the 

It might be supposed from this not merely that 
the magnet was in use at the end of the twelfth cen- 
tury, but that it had been known to a few savants 
much earlier ; yet when Dante's tutor, Brunetto 
Latini, visits Roger Bacon at Oxford about 1258, 
and is shown the black stone, he speaks of It as new 
and wonderful, but certain, if used, to awake sus- 
picion of magic. " It has the power of drawing iron 
to it, and if a needle be rubbed upon it and fastened 
to a straw so as to swim upon water, the needle 
will instantly turn, towards the Pole-Star. But no 
master mariner could use this, nor would the 
sailors venture themselves to sea under his com- 
mand if he took an Instrument so like one of 
infernal make." 

It was possibly after this that the share of Amal- 
phi came in; It may have been Flavio Gioja, or 
some other citizen of that earliest commercial repub* 









Geographical Science. 117 

He of the Middle Ages, which filled up so large a part 
of the gap between two great ages of progress, who 
fitted the magnet Into a box, and by connecting it 
with the compass-card, made It generally and easily 
available. This it certainly was before Prince 
Henry's earliest voyages, where he takes its use for 
granted even by merchant coasters, " who, beyond 
hogging the shore, know nothing of chart or needle." 
In any case it would seeni that prejudice was broken 
down, and the mariner's compass taken into favour, 
at least by Italian seamen and their Spanish appren- 
tices, in the early years of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, or the last years of the thirteenth, and that 
when the Dorias set out for India by the ocean 
way in 1291, and the Lisbon fleet sailed for 
the western islands in 1341, they had some sort of 
natural guide with them, besides the stories of travel- 
lers and their own imaginings. About the same time 
(c* 1350) mathematics and astronomy began to be 
studied in Portugal, and two of Henry's brothers, 
King Edward and the Great Regent Pedro, left a 
name for observations and scientific research. Thus 
Pedro, in his travels through most of Christendom, 
collected invaluable materials for discovery, especially 
an original of Marco Polo and a map given him at 
Venice, "which had all the parts of the earth 
described, whereby Prince Henry was much fur- 

Good maps Indeed ivere almost as valuable to him 
as good instruments, and they are far clearer land- 
marks of geographical knowledge. There are at least 
seven famous charts (either left to us or described 

1 1 8 Prince Henry the Navigator. moo- 

for us) of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, 
which give a pretty clear Idea of what Henry's own 
age and his father's thought and knew of the world 
some of which we believe to have been used by 
the Prince himself, and each of which follows some 
advance in actual exploration. 

First of all comes the Venetian map of Marino 
Sanuto, drawn about 1306, and putting into map- 
form the ideas that inspired the first Italian voyages 
in the Atlantic. On this the south of Africa is 
washed by the sea as the Vivaldi had hoped to find 
it, but the old story of a central zone " uninhabitable 
from the heat " still finds a place, helping to keep up 
the notion of the Tropical Seas, " always kept boil- 
ing by the sun," that held its own so long. Besides 
this, in Sanuto's map there is no evidence that 
anyone had really been coasting Africa; Henry is 
not anticipated and can hardly have been much 
helped by this very hypothetical leap in the dark. 

But the Florentine map of 135 1, called the Lauren- 
tian Portolano, is to all appearance a record of the 
actual discoveries of 1341. and 1346, and a wonder- 
ful triumph of guess-work if it is nothing better. 
For Africa is not only made an island, but the 
main outline of its coast Is fairly drawn ; in Its 
western corner the headlands, bays, and rivers 
are laid down as far as Bojador, and the three 
groups of Atlantic islands, Azores, Canaries, and 
Madeira, appear together for the first time Beyond 
this names grow scarce, and on the great Indent 
of the Gulf of Guinea, enormously exaggerated as 
it Is, there Is nothing to show for certain any past 

1460] Geographical Science. 119 

discovery, which suggests that this map was made 
for two purposes. Flrst 5 to record the results of 
recent travel ; secondly, and chiefly, to put forward 
geographical theories based upon tradition and Infer- 
ence, what men of old had told and what men of 
the present could fancy. 

Long after the Italian leadership in exploration 
had passed westward, Italian science kept control of 
geographical theory ; the Venetian maps of the 
brothers Pizzigani in 1367, and of the Camaldolese 
convent at Muranoin 1380 and 1459, an ^ the work of 
Andrea Bianco in 1436 and 1448, are the most im- 
portant of mediaeval charts, after the Laurentlan, 
and along with these must be reckoned that men- 
tioned above as given In 1425-8 to Henry's brother, 
Don Pedro, on his visit to Venice. This treasure 
has disappeared, but It was said by men of Henry's 
day and aftertime, who saw it In the monastery 
of Alcobaga, to show " as much or more discovered 
In time past than now." If their account is even an 
approach to the truth, It was In itself proof sufficient 
of the supremacy and almost monopoly of Italians 
in geographical theory. 

With 1375 and the Catalan map of that year y * 
which specially refers to the Catalan voyage of 1346 
and may be taken as one result of the same, we come 
to Spanish parallels ; but until the death of Henry 
in 1460, Italian draughtsmen were in possession, and 
Fra Mauro's great map of 1459, the evidence and 
result, in great measure, of the Navigator's work, 
could only be drawn by Venetians for the men 
whose discoveries it recorded* 

I2O Prince Henry the Navigator. [1100- 

But there Is one other point In Italian map-science 
which is worth remembering. At a time when most 
schemes of the world were covered with monsters 
and legends, when cartography was half mythical and 
half miscalculated, the coasting voyagers of the 
Mediterranean had brought their Portolani or sea 
charts to a very different result. And how was this ? 
Did they get right, as it were, by chance ? " They 
never had for their object," says the great Swedish 
explorer and draughtsman, Baron Nordenskjold, 
u to' illustrate the ideas of some classical author, of 
some learned prelate, or the legends and dreams of 
feats of Chivalry within the Court circle of some 
more or less lettered feudal lord.'* They were simply 
guides to mariners and merchants in the Mediter- 
ranean seaports ; they were seldom drawn by learned 
men, and small enough, in return, was the attention 
given them by the learned geographers, the men of 
theory, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 

But these plans of practical seamen are a wonder- 
ful contrast in their almost present-day accuracy 
to the results of theory let loose, as we see them in 
Ptolemy and the Arabian geographers, and in such fan- 
tasticsas the Hereford Mappa Mundi, so well known 
In England. Map-sketches of this sort, were unknown 
to Greeks and Romans, as far as we can tell. The 
old Peripli were sailing directions, not drawn but 
written, and the only Arabian coast-chart known to 
us was copied from an Italian one. But from the 
opening of the twelfth century, if not before, the 
western Mediterranean was known to Christian sea- 
men to those at least concerned in the trade and 


14601 Geographical Science. 121 

Intercourse of the great inland sea, by the help of 
these practical guides. 

From the middle of the thirteenth century, when the 
use of the compass began on the coasts of southern 
Europe, the Portolani began to be drawn with Its aid, 
and by the end of the same century, by the time of 
our Hereford map (c. 1300), these charts had reached 
the finish that we see and admire In those left to us 
from the fourteenth century. For, of the 498 speci- 
mens of this kind of practical map now left to us, there 
Is not one of earlier date than the year 1311. Among 
these specimens not merely the mass of materials, but 
the most Important examples, not merely 413 out of 
498, but all the more famous and perfect of the 498 
are Italian. The course begins with Vesconte's 
chart, of the year 1311, and with Dulcert's of 
1339, and the outlines of these two are faithfully 
reproduced, for Instance, in the great Dutch map 
of the Barentszoons (c. 1594), for the type once 
fixed In the fourteenth century, recurs steadily 
throughout the fifteenth, and sixteenth. The type 
was so permanent because It was so reliable ; every 
part of the Mediterranean coast was sketched with- 
out serious mistake or disproportion, even from a 
modern point of view, while the fulness and detail 
of the work gave everything that was wanted by prac- 
tical seamen. Of course this detail was in the coast 
lines, river mouths, and promontories ; it only touched 
the land features as they touched the seas. For the 
Portolani were never meant to be more than mariners* 
charts, and became less and less trustworthy If they 
tried to fill up the inland spaces usually left blank 

122 Prince Henry the Navigator, [noo-1460 

For this, we must look to the highest class of medl- 
seval theoretical maps, those founded on Portolani, but 
taking into their view land as well as water and coast 
line. And such were the celebrated examples* we 
have noticed already. 

* 0/1306, 1351, 1367, 1375, 1380, 1436, 1448, 1459. 

NOTE. It was a man of theory, Raymond Lulli (1235-1315), of 
Majorca, the famous Alchemist, who is credited with the first sug- 
gestion of the idea of seeking a way to India by rounding Africa on 
the West and South. 



ENRY the Navigator Is the Hero of 
Portugal, as well as of discovery, the 
chief figure In his country's history, 
as well as the first leader of the 
great European expansion ; and the 
national growth of three hundred 
years is quite as much a part of his life, quite as 
much a cause of his forward movement, as the 
growth of Christendom towards a living Interest In 
the unknown or half-known world around. 

The chief points of interest In the story of Portu- 
gal are first the stubborn restless independence of 
the people, always rising Into fresh vigour after a 
seeming overthrow, and secondly their Instinct for 
seamanship, which Henry was able to train into ex- 
ploring and colonising genius. There was no physical 
justice In the separate nationality of the Western 
Kingdom of Lisbon any more than of the Eastern 
Kingdom of Barcelona. Portugal * was essentially 
part of Spain, as the United Provinces of William of 

* See Note i, page 137, 


124 Prince Henry the Navigator. 11095- 

Orange were essentially part of the Netherlands ; 
in both cases It was only the spirit and endurance of 
the race that gave to some provincials the right to 
become a people, while that right was denied to others. 

And Portugal gained that right by a struggle of 
three hundred years, which was first a crusade against 
Islam ; then a war of Independence against brother 
Christians of Castille ; last of all a civil strife against 
rebels and anarchists within. 

In the twelfth century the five kingdoms of Spain 
were clearly marked off from the Moslem States 
and from one another; by the end of the fifteenth 
there is only the great central Realm of Ferdinand 
and Isabella, and the little western coast-kingdom of 
Emanuel the Fortunate, the heir of Prince Henry. 
Nations are among our best examples of the survival 
of the fittest, and by the side of Poland and Aragon 
we may well see a meaning in the bare and tiresome 
story of the mediaeval kingdom of Portugal. The 
very fact of separate existence means something for 
a people which has kept on ruling itself for ten gen- 
erations. Though its territory was never more than 
one fourth of the peninsula, nor its numbers more 
than one third of the Spanish race from the middle 
of the twelfth century, Portugal has stood alone, with 
less right to such independence from any distinction 
of place or blood, than Ireland or Navarre, fighting 
incessantly against foes without, from north, east, 
and south, and keeping down the still worse foes 
of its own household. 

But the meaning of the growth of the Portuguese 
power is not in its isolation, its stubbornly defended 



14003 Medieval Portugal. 125 

national distinction from all other powers, but in Its 
central and as It were unifying position In modern 
history as the guide of Europe and Christendom 
into that larger world which marks the real differ- 
ence between the Middle Ages and our own day. 

For Henry the Navigator breathed into his coun- 
trymen the spirit of the old Norse rovers^ that 
boundless appetite for new knowledge, new pleas- 
ures, new sights and sounds, which underlay the 
exploration of the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies the exploration of one half of the world's 
surface, the finding of a new continent in the south 
and in the west, and the opening of the great sea- 
routes round the globe. The scientific effects of this, 
starting from the new proof of a round world won 
by a Portuguese seaman, Magellan ; and the political 
effects, also beginning with the first of modern co- 
lonial empires, founded by Da Gama, Cabral, and 
Albuquerque, are too widespread for more than a 
passing reference in this place, but this reference 
must be connected with the true author of the 
movement. For if the industrial element rules mod- 
ern development ; If the philosophy of utility, as 
expressing this element, Is now our guide in war 
and peace ; and If the substitution of this for the 
military spirit * is to be dated from that dominion 
in the Indian seas which realised the designs of 
Henry if this be so, the Portuguese become to us, 
through him, something like the founders of our 
commercial civilisation, and of the European empire 
in Asia. 

* W, H. Lecky, Rationalism* 

126 Prince Henry the Navigator. 11095- 

By the opening years of the fifteenth century, 
Portugal in a Catholic rather than a Classical 
Renaissance had already entered upon Its modern 
life, some three generations before the rest of Chris- 
tendom. But Its mediaeval history Is very much 
like that of any other of the Five Spanish King- 
doms. Like the rest, Portugal had joined In 
driving the Moors from the Asturias to Anda- 
lusia, In the two hundred years of successful West- 
ern Crusade (1001-1212). In the same time, 
between the death of the great vizier Almanzor, the 
last support of the old Western Caliphate (1001), 
and the overthrow of the African Moors, who had 
supplanted that Western Caliphate, between those 
two points of Moslem triumph and Christian reaction, 
the Portuguese kingdom had been formed out of 
the County granted In 1095 by Alfonso VI. of Leon 
to the free-lance Henry of Burgundy. 

For the next three hundred years (1095-1383), 
under his descendants who reigned as kings in 
Guimaraens or Lisbon, we may trace a gradual but 
chequered national rise, to the Revolution of 1383 
with two prominent movements of expansion and 
two relapses of contraction and decline. 

First comes the formation of a national spirit by 
Count Henry's widow Donna Theresa and her son 
Affonso Henrlquez, who from a Lord of Coimbra 
and Oporto, dependent on the Kingdom of Gallicla 
or of Leon, becomes the first free King of Portugal. 
His victories over the Moors in taking Lisbon (1147) 
and winning the day of Ourlque (i 139), are followed 
by the first wars with Castille and by the time of quiet 

1400] Medi&val Portugal. 127 

organisation in his last years under the regency of 
his son Sancho, the City Builder. The building and 
planting of Sancho is again followed by the first re- 
lapse, Into the weakness of Affonso II., and the 
turbulent minority of Sancho IL Constitutional 
troubles begin with the First Sancho's quarrel with 
Innocent III, and with the appearance of the first 
national Cortes under Chancellor Julian. 

The second forward movement starts with Affonso 
III., " of Boulogne," who saves the kingdom from 
anarchy and conquers the Algarves, on the south 
coast, from Islam ; who first organises the alliance of 
Crown and people against nobles and clergy, and, in 
the strength of this, defies the interdict of Urban 

Diniz, his bastard son, for whose legitimation he 
had made this same struggle with Rome, follows 
Affonso III., in 1279, and with him begins the wider 
life of Portugal, her navy and her literature, her agri- 
culture, justice, and commerce. 

The second relapse may be dated from the Black 
Death (1348), which threatened the very life of the 
nation, and left behind a sort of chronic weakness. 
National spirit seemed worn out ; Court intrigue and 
political disaster the order of the day ; the Church 
and Cortes alike effete and useful only against them- 

But In the revival under a new leader, John, the 
father of Prince Henry, and a new dynasty the 
House of Aviz and its " Royal Race of Famous 
Infants," in the years that follow the Revolution of 
1383, the older religious and crusading fervour is 

128 Prince Henry the Navigator. no95- 

jolned with the new spirit of enterprise, of fierce 
activity, and the Portugal thus called into being is a 
great State because the whole nation shares In the 
life and energy of a more than recovered liberty. 

Before the age of King Diniz, before the four- 
teenth century, there is little enough in the national 
story to suggest the first state-profession of discov- 
ery and exploration in Christian history. But we 
must bring together a few of the suggestive and 
prophetic incidents of the earlier time, if we are to 
be fully prepared for the later. 

(i.) Oporto, the "port" of Gallicia, from the 
formation of the county or "march" of Henry of 
Burgundy, seems to have given the district its name 
of " Portugallia," at one time as a military frontier 
against Islam, then as an independent State, lastly 
as an imperial Kingdom. Also, as the earliest centre 
of Portugal was a harbour, and its earliest border a 
river, there was a sort of natural, though slumbering, 
fitness for seamanship in the people. 

(2.) Again, in the alliance of the Crown with the 
towns, first formed by Count Henry's wife Theresa 
in her regency after his death, 1114-28, and renewed 
by her grandson Sancho, the City Builder, and by 
Affonso III., the " Saviour of the Kingdom," we have 
an early example of the power of that class, which 
was the backbone of the great movement of expan- 
sion, when the meaning of this was fairly brought 
home to them. 

(3.) In the capture of Lisbon, in 1 147, by Affonso 
Henriquez, Theresa's son, at the head of the allied 
forces of native militia and northern Crusaders 

"&I^l { S"^ ; ' d iJlfipi 

A - ; - *& rt -A-' ^ '-i^ 1 ^<L~ '-^-45)- -- vJ j 

I^CL,i^T v ; ^*-^tott, 

i)*^*^^, i/ ^ / / i 1 ~"-',J I J v,. jS-' "tv-^"" 1 ^, - ^-^H\\^ /3"^'-'"!l; ,5 , f f s,?'~f'.t 

/-' ,>v;>4 ! ' A" ^^ 


r ft r ~fv- ~^^-<~ r -^<^.^-t.i^~f-J^m^^ i ^ m -?t*****^**'Z!!*^:!!*?l 

14001 Mcditcval Portugal. 129 

Flemish, French, German, and English we have 
brought clearly before us, not merely the facts of 
the gain of a really great city by a rising Christian 
State, not merely the result of tills In the formation 
of a kingdom oat of a county, but the more general 
connection of the crusading spirit with the new 
nations of Europe. Portugal Is the most lasting 
monument of crusading energy; it was this that 
strengthened the " Lusitanians 9 * to make good their 
stand both against the Moors and against Castillo ; 
and it was this which brought out the maritime bent 
of the little western kingdom, and drew out its in- 
terest on the one and only side where that could be 
of great and general usefulness. The Crusades 
without and the policy of statesmen within, we may 
fairly say, made the Portuguese ready to lead the ex- 
pansion of Christendom, made possible the work of 
Henry the Navigator. The foreign help given at 
Lisbon in 1 147 was only a repetition on a grand scale 
of what had long been done on a smaller, and it was 
offered again and again till the final conquest of the 
southern districts, between Cape St. Vincent and the 
Guadiana (c. 1250), left the European kingdom fully 
formed, and the recovery of Western Spain from the 
Moslem had been achieved. 

(4.) And when the Crusading Age passed away, 
it left behind an intercourse of Portugal with 
England, Flanders, and the North Sea coasts, which 
was taken up' and developed by Diniz and the kings 
of the fourteenth century, till under the new Royal 
House of Aviz, in the boyhood of Henry the Navi- 
gator, this maritime and commercial element had 

130 Prince Henry tJie Navigator. nogs- 

clearly become the most Important In the State, the 
main interest even of Government. 

So, from the first mercantile treaty of 1294, be- 
tiveen the traders of Lisbon and London, we feel 
ourselves beyond the mere fighting period, and be- 
fore the death of Diniz (1325), there Is a good deal 
more progress in the same direction. The English 
treaty of exchange Is followed by similar ones with 
France and with Flanders, while for the protection of 
this commerce, as well as to prove his fellowship or 
his rivalry with the maritime republics of Italy, 
Diniz,* the "Labourer King/' built the first Portu- 
guese navy, founded a new office of state for its com- 
mand, and gave the post to a great Genoese sailor, 
Emanuel Pessanha, 1317. With the new Lord High 
Admiral begins the Spanish-Italian age of ocean voy- 
ages, and the rediscovery of the Canaries in 1341 is 
the first result of the alliance. In 1353 the old 
treaty of 1294 is enlarged and safeguarded by fresh 
clauses signed in London, as if to guard against 
future trouble In the dark days then hanging over 

For the next generation (1350-1380), the national 
politics are bound up with Spanish Intrigues and lose 
nearly all reference to that larger world, to which the 
kingdom was recalled by the Revolution of 1383, the 
overthrow of Castille on the battle-field of Aljubar- 
rota, and the accession of John of Aviz. Once more 
intensely, narrowly national, one might almost say 
provincial, In peninsular matters, Portugal then 
returned to its older ambition of being, not a make 
* See Note 2 , page 137. 

1400] Portugal* 131 

weight in Spanish politics, but a part of the greater 
whole of commercial and maritime Europe. Almost 
ceasing to be Spanish she was, by that \ T ery transfer 
of interest from land to sea, fitted for her special 

" to open up these v/r^tes of tide 
Xo generation opened before." 

It was through a love affair that the crisis came 
about. Ferdinand the Handsome, the last of the 
House of Burgundy to reign In Lisbon^ became the 
slave of the \vorst of his subjects, the evil genius of 
himself and his kingdom, Leonora Telles, For her 
sake he broke his marriage treaty with Castilie 
f k 1372)3 and brought down the vengeance of Henry 
of Trastamara, whom the Black Prince of England 
had fought and seemed to conquer at Navarette, but 
who In the end had foiled all his enemies Pedro 
the Cruel, Ferdinand of Portugal* and Prince Ed- 
ward of Cre^y and Poictiers. 

For Leonor's sake Ferdinand braved the great 
riot of the Lisbon mob ? when Fenian Vasquez the 
Tailor led his followers to the palace, burst In the 
gates, and forced from the King an oath to stand by 
the Castllian marriage he had contracted, For her 
sake he broke his word to his artisans, as he had 
broken It to his nobles and his brother monarch* 

Leonor herself the people hunted for In vain 
through the rooms and corridors of the palace ; she 
escaped from their lynch law to Santarem. The 
same night Ferdinand Joined her. Safe In his strong- 
est fortress, he gathered an army and forced his way 
back Into the capital. The mob was scattered; 

132 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1095- 

Vasquez and the other leaders beheaded on the 
spot. Then at Oporto, without more delay, the 
King of Portugal married his paramour, in the face 
of her husband, of Castille, and of his own people. 

" Laws are nil," said the rhyme, " when kings will," 
but though nobles and people submitted in the life- 
time of Ferdinand, the storm broke out again on his 
death in October, 1383. During the last ten years 
the Queen had practically governed, and the king- 
dom seemed to be sinking back into a province of 
.Spain. Ferdinand's bastard brother, John, Master 
of the Knights of Aviz, and father of Henry the 
Navigator, was the leader of the national party, and 
Leonor had in vain tried to get rid of him, silent and 
dangerous as he was. She forged some treasonable 
letters In his name, and procured his arrest ; then 
as the King would not order him to execution with- 
out trial, she forged the warrant, too, and sent it 
promptly to the Governor of Evora Castle, where 
the Master lay In prison. But he refused to obey 
without further proof, and John escaped to lead the 
national restoration. 

On the death of Ferdinand his widow took the 
regency in the name of her daughter Beatrice, just 
married to the King of Castille. It was only a ques- 
tion of time, this coming subjection of Portugal, 
unless the whole people rose and made monarchy 
and government national once more. And in De- 
cember, 1383, they did so. Under John of Aviz the 
patriots cut to pieces the Queen's friends, and made 
ready to meet her allies from Castille. On the battle 
field of Aljubarrota (August 14, 1385), the struggle 

John I* and the of Avis. 135 

\vas decided. Castillo was finally driven back, and 
the new agc ? of the new dynasty, was fairly started. 

The Portuguese people under King John I. and his 
sons Edward, Pedro, Henry, and Ferdinand, passed 
out of the darkness of their slavery into the light 
and life of their heroic age. 

The founder of the House of Aviz, John, the 
King of Good Memory, is the great transition figure 
in his country's history, for in his reign the age of the 
merely European kingdom Is over, and that of dis- 
covery and empire begins. That is, the limits of 
territory and of population, as well as the type of 
government and of policy, both home and foreign, 
secured by his victory and his reign, are permanent 
in themselves, and as the conditions of success they 
Heat the root of the development of the next hun- 
dred years* 

Even the drift of Portuguese interests, seawards 
and southwards, is decided by his action, his alliance 
with England, his encouragement of trade, his wars 
against the Moors. For, by the middle of his reign, 
by the time of the Ceuta conquest (1415), his third 
son, Prince Henry, had grown to manhood. 

Yet, King John's personal work (1383-1433) is 
rather one of settlement and the providing of 
resources for future action than the taking of any 
great share in that action. His mind was practical 
rather than prophetic, common-sense rather than 
creative ; but in his regeneration of the Court and 
trade and society and public service of the kingdom, 
he fitted his people to play their part, to be for a 
time the " \ r ery foremost men of all this world." 

134 Prince Henry the Navigator, ct095- 

First of all, he founded a strong centralised mon- 
archy, like those which marked the fifteenth century 
In France and England and Russia. The spirit, the 
aim of Louis XI., of the Tudors, of Ivan III., .was the 
same as that of John I. of Portugal to rule as well 
as govern In every department, " over all persons, In 
all causesj, as well ecclesiastical as civil, within their 
dominions supreme." The Master of A viz had been 
the people's choice ; the Lisbon populace and their 
leaders had been among the first who dared to fight 
for him ; but he would not be a simple King of Par- 
liaments. He preferred to reign with the help of 
his nobles. For though he distrusted feudalism, he 
dreaded Cortes still more. So, while in most of the 
new monarchies of Europe the subjection or humilia- 
tion of the baronage was a primary article of policy, 
John tried to win his way by lavish gifts of land, 
while resolutely checking feudalism in government, 
curtailing local Immunities, and guarding the liber- 
ties of the towns against noble usurpers. 

We shall see the results of this In the life of Prince 
Henry ; at present there is only space to notice the 
general fact. The other lines of John's home gov- 
ernment his reform of criminal procedure, his sanc- 
tion of the vernacular in legal and official business 
in place of Latin, his attempt to publish the first 
collection of Portuguese laws, his settlement of the 
Court in the true national capital of Lisbon are only 
to be linked with the life of his son ? as helping one 
and all of them towards that conscious political unity 
on which Henry's work was grounded. 

The same was the result of his foreign policy, 

1400] John L and the House of Aviz. 135 

which was nothing more than the old state-rules of 
DInlz. Systematic neutrality in Spain and a com- 
mercial alliance with England and the northern 
nations,, were but the common-sense securities of the 
restored kingdom ; but they played another part 
than one of mere defence, in drawing out the sea- 
manship and worldly knowledge, and even the greed 
of Portuguese traders. In the marts of Bruges and 
London, " the Schoolmasters of Husbandry to Eu- 
rope/' Henry's countrymen met the travellers and 
merchants of Italy and Flanders and England and 
the Hanse Towns, and gained some inkling of the 
course and profits of the overland trade from India 
and the further East, Just as In Nismes and Mont- 
pellier they saw the Malaguette pepper and other 
merchandise of the Sahara and Guinea caravans. 

The Windsor and Paris treaties of 1386 and 1389 ; 
the marriage of John himself with Philippa, daughter 
of old " John of Gaunt, time-honoured ** and time- 
serving "Lancaster," and the consequent alliance 
between the House of Aviz and the House of our 
own Henry IV., are proofs of an unwritten but well 
understood Triple Alliance of England, Flanders, 
and Portugal, which had been fostered by the Cru- 
sades and by trade and family politics. And through 
this friendship had come into being what was now 
the chief outward activity of Portuguese life, an in- 
terest in commerce, which was the beginning of a 
career of discovery and colonisation. Lastly, be- 
sides good government, besides saving the kingdom 
and keeping it safely in the most prosperous path, 
Portugal owed to King John and his English wife 

136 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1095- 

the training of their five sons, Edward the Eloquent, 
Pedro the Great Regent, Henry the Navigator, John 
the Constable, Ferdinand the Saint the cousins of 
our own Henry V*, Henry of Azincourt. 

Edward, the heir of John the Great and his unfor- 
tunate successor (1433-8), unlucky as most literary 
princes, but deserving whatever courage and honesty 
and the best gifts can deserve, was a good ruler, a 
good son, a good brother, a good lawyer, and one of 
the earliest writers in his own Portuguese. As a 
pupil of his father's great Chancellor, John of the 
Rules, he has left a tract on the Ordering of Justice ; 
as a king, two others, on Pity and A Loyal Council- 
lor ; as a cavalier, A Book of Good Riding. Still 
more to our purpose, he was always at the side of 
his brother Henry, helped him in his schemes and 
brought his movement into fashion at a critical time, 
when enterprise seemed likely to slacken in the face 
of unending difficulties. 

But the Navigator's right-hand man was his next 
brother Pedro the Traveller, who, after visiting all 
the countries of Western Europe and fighting with 
the Teutonic knights against the heathen Prussians, 
brought back to Portugal for the use of discovery 
that great mass of suggestive material, oral and 
written, in maps and plans and books, which was 
used for the first ocean voyages of Henry's sailors. 

On his judgment and advice, more than of any 
other man, Henry relied, and after Edward's death 
it was due to him as Regent that the generous sup- 
port of the past was more than kept up, that so 
many ships and men were found for the rounding of 

















1400: jfo/itt I. and the House of Avis, 157 

Cape Verde, and that Edward's SDH and heir, Af- 
fonso V., was trained In the mind of his father and Ills 
uncle, to be their successor In leading the expansion 
of Portugal and of Christendom. 

John and Ferdinand, Henry's two younger 
brothers, are not of much Importance In his work, 
though they were both of the same rare quality as 
the elder Infantes, and the worst disaster of Henry's 
life, the Tangier campaign, is closely bound up with 
the fate of " Fernand the Constant Prince/ 9 but as 
we pass from the earlier story of Portugal to the age 
of Its great achievements, It would be hard to doubt 
or to forget that the mother of the Navigator was 
also of some account in the shaping of the heroes 
of her house. Through her at least the Lusitanian 
Prince of Thomson's line is half an Englishman : 

" The Luskanian prince, \vho, Heaven-inspired, 

To love r*f useful glory roused mankind, 

And in unbounded commerce mixed the world/* 

NOTE I. The Old Roman Lu&itania, But vritli a wider stretch on the 
K'orth, and a narrower stretch on the East. So the Portuguese are 
** Lusians," ts Lusiianians," etc., in poetry. Cf. Camoens, JLttsiatfs. 

NOTE 2. 

What Diniz willed 
He ever fulfilled 

said the popular rhyme. 



Then from ancient gloom emerged 

The rising world of trade : the genius then, 

Of Navigation, held in hopeless sloth, 

Had slumbered on the vast Atlantic deep 

For idle ages, starting, heard at last 

The Lusitanian Prince, who, Heaven-inspired, 

To love of useful glory roused mankind, 

And in unbounded commerce mixed the world. 

THOMSON, Seasons, Summer , 1005-1012. 

JJHE third son of John the Great and of 
Phillppa was the Infant Henry, Duke 
of Viseu, Master of the Order of 
Christ, Governor of the Algarves, born 
March 4, 1394, who might have trav- 
elled from Court to Court like his 
brother Pedro, but who refused all offers from 
England, Italy, and Germany, and chose the life 
of a student and a seaman, retiring more and 
more from the known world that he might open up 
the unknown. 

After the capture of Ceuta, in 141 5, he planted him- 
self in his Naval Arsenal at Sagres, close to Lagos 


Henrys Three Chief Objects. 139 

to\vn and Cape St. Vincent, and for more than forty 
years, till his death 121 1460, he kept his mind upon 
the ocean that stretched out from that rocky head- 
land to the unknown West and South. Twice only 
for any length of time did lie come back Into politi- 
cal life; for the rest 3 though respected as the referee 
of national disputes and the leader and teacher of 
the people,, his time was mainly spent in thinking 
out his plans of discovery' drawing his maps, ad- 
justing his instruments, sending out his ships, receiv- 
ing the reports of his captains. His aims were three : 
to discover, to add to the greatness and wealth of 
Portugal, and to spread the Christian Faith. 

(i.) First of all, he was trying to find a way round 
Africa to India for the sake of the new knowledge 
itself and for the power which that knowledge 
would give. As his mind was above all things in- 
terested in the scientific question, it was this side 
which was foremost in his plans. He was really try- 
ing to find out the shape of the world, and to make 
men feel more at home in it, that the dread of the 
great unknown round the little island of civilised 
and habitable world might be lightened. He was 
working in the mist that so long had hung round 
Christendorrij chilling every enterprise. 

Thus the whole question of the world and its 
shape, its countries and climates, its seas and conti- 
nents, on every side of practical exploration, was 
bound to be before Prince Henry as a theorist ; the 
practical question which he helped to solve was only 
a part of this wider whole. Did this Africa stretch- 
ing opposite to him in his retreat at Sagres never 

140 Prince Henry the Navigator. a 410- 

end till It reached the Southern pole, or was It pos- 
sible to get round Into the Eastern ocean ? Since 
Ptolemy's map had held the field, it had been heresy 
to suppose this ; but in the age of Greek and Phoe- 
nician voyages it had been guessed by some, and 
perhaps even proved by others. 

The Tyrians whom Pharaoh Necho sent down the 
Red Sea more than six hundred years before Christ, 
brought back after three years a story of their finding 
Africa an island, and so returning by the west and 
north through the Straits of Gibraltar. 

The same tradition, after a long time of discredit, 
was now reviving upon the maps of the fourteenth 
century, and, in spite of the terrible stories of the 
Arabs, Henry was able in the first years of the fif- 
teenth to find men who would try the forlorn hope 
of a direct sea-route from Europe to the Indies. 
We have seen how far the charts and guide-books 
of the time just before this had advanced Christian 
knowledge of the world ; how the southern coast- 
line of Asia is traced by Marco Polo, and how even 
Madagascar is named, though not visited, by the 
same traveller; the Florentine map of 1351 proves 
that a fairly true guess of the shape of Africa could 
be made even before persistent exploration began 
with Henry of Portugal; the Arab settlements 
on the east coast of Africa and their trade with 
the Malabar coast, though still kept as a close mon- 
opoly for Islam, had thoroughly opened up a line 
of navigation, that was ready, as it were, for the first 
Europeans who could strike into it and press the 
Moorish pilots into a new service. Discovery was 

14151 Henrys Three Chief Objects. 141 

thus anticipated when the coasts of West and South 
had once been rounded. 

Besides this, the vague knowledge of the Guinea 
coast already gained through the Sahara Caravan 
Trade was improved by the Prince himself, during 
his stay at Ceuta, into the certainty that if the great 
western hump of Africa beyond Bojador could be 
passed, his caravels would come into an eastern cur- 
rent, passing the gold and ivory coast, which might 
lead straight to India, and at any rate would be con- 
nected by an overland traffic with the Mediterranean. 

(2.) Again, Henry was founding upon his work of 
exploration an empire for his country. At first per- 
haps only thinking of the straight sea-passage as the 
possible key of the Indian trade, it became clearer 
with every fresh discovery that the European king- 
dom might and must be connected by a chain of 
forts and factories with the rich countries for whose 
sake all these barren coasts were passed. In any 
case, and in the eyes of ordinary men, the riches of 
the East were the plain and primary reason of the 
explorations. Science had its own aims, but to gain 
an income for its work it must promise some definite 
gain. And the chief -hope of Henry's captains was 
that the wealth now flowing by the overland routes 
to the Levant would in time, as the prize of Portu- 
guese daring, go by the water way, without delay or 
fear of plunder or Arab middlemen, to Lisbon and 
Oporto. This would repay all the trouble and all 
the cost, and silence all who murmured. For this 
Indian trade was the prize of the world, and for the 
sake of this Rome had destroyed Palmyra, and at- 

142 Prince Henry the Navigator. [mo- 

tacked Arabia and held Egypt, and struggled for the 
mastery of the Tigris. For the same thing half the 
wars of the Levant had been waged, and by this the 
Italian republics, Venice, Genoa, and Pisa, had 
grown to greatness. 

(3.) Lastly, Henry was a Crusader with Islam 
and a missionary with the heathen. Of him fully 
as much as of Columbus, it may be said, that if he 
aimed at an empire, it was a Christian one, and 
from the time of the first voyages his captains had 
orders not merely to discover and to trade, but to 
convert. Till his death he hoped to find the land 
of Prester John, the half-true, half-fabulous Chris- 
tian Priest-King of the outer world, so long cut off 
from Christendom by the Mohammedan states. 

At this time many things were drawing western 
Europe towards the East and towards discovery. 
The progress of science and historic knowledge, the 
records and suggestions of travellers, the develop- 
ment of the Christian nations, the position of Portu- 
gal and the spirit of her people, all these lines met, 
as it were, in Henry's time and nation and person, 
and from that meeting came the results of Colum 
bus and Da Gama and Magellan. 

In the earlier chapters we have tried to trace 
the preparation along these slowly converging 
paths, for the discoveries of the fifteenth cen- 
tury. We started with that body of knowledge 
and theory about the world which the Roman 
Empire bequeathed to Christendom, and which 
in the earlier Middle Ages was worked upon 
by the Arabs, and we gained some idea, from the 

1415] Henrys Tliree Chief Objects. 143 

sayings of Moslem geographers and from the doings 
of Moslem warriors, of the hindrance as well as of 
the help that Islam gave to European expansion. 
We saw that during the great struggle of Christian- 
ity and of the old Order with barbarism, the chief 
energy of our Western world In discovery or exten- 
sion of any sort took the shape of pilgrimage. Then, 
as time went on, it was possible to see that the Sara- 
cens, who had begun as destroyers in the South, 
were acting as teachers and clvllisers upon Europe, 
and that the Vikings, who as pirates in the North 
seemed raised up to complete the ruin of Latin 
civilisation, were really waking It into a new 

In the Crusades this activity, which had already 
founded the kingdom of Russia on one side and 
touched America on the other, seemed to pass from 
the Northern seamen Into every Christian nation and 
every class of society, and with the conversion of 
the Northmen their place as the discoverers and lead- 
ers of the Christian world fitted in with the other 
movements of Mediterranean commerce and war 
and devotion. Even the pilgrims of the Crusading 
Age were now no longer distinctive : they were 
often, as individuals, members of other classes, trad- 
ers, fighters, or travellers who, after gaming a firm 
foothold in Syria, began the exploration of the 
further East. 

The three great discovering energies of the thir- 
teenth and fourteenth centuries in land-travel^ 
navigation, and science were all seen to be results, 
in whole or in part, of the Crusades themselves, and 

144 Prince Henry the Navigator. 0410- 

in following the more important steps of European 
travel and trade and proselytism from the Holy 
Land to China, it became more and more evident 
that this practical finding out of the treasures of 
Cathay and the Indies was the necessary preparation 
for the attempts of Genoese and Portuguese to open 
up the sea route as another and a safer way to the 
source of the same treasures. 

Lastly, the intermittent and uncertain ventures 
of the fourteenth-century seamen, Italian, Spanish, 
French, or English, to coast round Africa or to find 
the Indies by the Southern route to reach a defi- 
nite end without any clear plan of means to that 
end an d the revival in theoretical geography, which 
was trying at the same time to fill up the gaps of 
knowledge by tradition or by probability seemed 
to offer a clear contrast and a clear foreshadowing 
also of Prince Henry's method. Even his nearest 
forerunners, in seamanship or in map-making * were 
strikingly different from himself. They were too 
much in the spirit of Ptolemy and of ancient science ; 
they neglected fact for hypothesis, for clever guess- 
ing, and so their work was spasmodic and unfruitful, 
or at least disappointing. 

It was true enough that each generation of Chris- 
tian thought was less in fault than the one before it ; 
but it was not till the fifteenth century, till Henry 
had set the example, that exploration became sys- 
tematic and continuous. To Marco Polo and men 
like him we owe the beginnings of the art and science 

* Except the draughtsmen of the Portolani. 

1415] Henry s Three Chief Objects. 145 

of discovery among the learned ; to the Portuguese 
Is due at least the credit of making it a thing of na- 
tional Interest, and of freeing it from a false philoso- 
phy. To find out by Incessant and unwearying 
search what the world really was, and not to make 
known facts fit in with the ideas of some thinker on 
what the world ought to be, this we found to be the 
main difference between Cosmas or even Ptolemy 
and any true leader of discovery. For a real ad- 
vance of knowledge, fancy must follow experiment, 
and no merely hypothetical system or Universe as 
shewn In Holy Scripture, would do any longer. We 
have come to the time when explorers were not 
Ptolemaics or Strabonians or Scripturists, but Nat- 
uralists men who examined things afresh, for them- 

These various objects are all Involved in the one 
central aim of discovery, but they are not lost in It. 
To know this world we live in and to teach men the 
new knowledge was the first thing, which makes 
Henry what he is In universal history ; his other 
alms are those of his time and his nation, but they 
are not less a part of his life. 

And he succeeded In them all ; If In part his work 
was for all time and in part seemed to pass away 
after a hundred years, that was due to the exhaust- 
ion of his people. What he did for his countrymen 
was realised by others, but the start, the inspiration, 
was his own. He persevered for fifty years (1412- 
60) till within sight of the goal, and though he died 
before the full result of his work was seen, it was 
none the less his due when It came. 

146 Prince Henry the Navigator. [14-10-1415 

We find these results put down to the credit of 
others, but if Columbus gave Castille and Leon a 
new world in 1492, if Da Gama reached India in 
1498, if Diaz rounded the Cape of Tempests or of 
Good Hope in 1486, if Magellan made the circuit of 
the globe in 1520-2, their teacher and master was 
none the less Henry the Navigator* 




E have seen how the kingdom of Portu- 
gal Itself was almost an offspring of 
the Crusades. They had left behind 
them a thirst for wealth and for a 
wider life on one side,, and a broken 
Moslem power on the other, which 
opened the way and stirred the enterprise of 
every maritime state. We know that Lisbon had 
long been an active centre of trade with the 
Hanse Towns, Flanders, and England. ^And now 
the projected conquest of Ceuta and the appeal of 
the conqueror of Aljubarrota for a great national 
effort found the people prepared. A royal prince 
could do what a private man could not ; and Por- 
tugal, more fully developed than any other of the 
Christian kingdoms, was ready to expand abroad 
without fear at home. 

Even before the conquest of Ceuta, in 1410 or 
1412, Henry had begun to send out his caravels past 
Cape Non, which had so long been with C. Bojador 
the FInisterre of Africa. The first object of these 


148 Prince Henry the Navigator. 0415 

ships was to reach the Guinea coast by outflanking 
the great western shoulder of the continent. Once 
there, the gold and ivory and slave trade would pass 
away from the desert caravans to the European 
coasters. Then the eastern bend of Africa, along 
the bights of Benin and Biafra, might be followed to 
the Indies, if this were possible, as some had thought ; 
if not, the first stage of the work would have to be 
taken up again till men had found and had rounded 
the Southern Cape. The outflanking of Guinea proved 
to be only a part of the outflanking of Africa, but it 
was far more than half the battle ; just as India was 
the final prize of full success, so the Gold Coast was 
the reward of the first chapter in that success. 

But of these earlier expeditions nothing is known 
in detail ; the history of the African voyages begins 
with the war of 1415, and the new knowledge it 
brought to Henry of the Sahara and the Guinea 
Coast and of the tribes of tawny Moors and negroes 
on the Niger and the Gambia. 

In 1414, when Edward was twenty-three, Pedro 
twenty-two, and Henry twenty, King John planned 
an attack on Ceuta, the great Moorish port on the 
African side of the Straits of Gibraltar. The three 
princes had all asked for knighthood ; their father at 
first proposed to celebrate a year of tournaments, 
but at the suggestion of the Treasurer of Portugal, 
John Affonso de Alemquer, he decided on this 
African crusade instead. For the same strength and 
money might as well be spent in conquests from the 
Moslem as in sham-fights between Christians. So 
after reconnoitring the place, and lulling the suspi* 



1415] The Conquest of Cento. 149 

cions of Aragon and Granada by a pretence of de- 
claring war against the Count of Holland, King John 
gained the formal consent of his nobles at Torres 
Vedras, and set sail from Lisbon on St. James' Day, 
July 25, 1415, as foretold by the dying Queen 
Philippa, twelve days before. 

That splendid woman, who had shared the throne 
for eight and twenty years, and who had trained her 
sons to be fit successors of her husband as the leaders 
of Portugal and the " Examples of all Christians/* 
was now cut off by death from a sight of their first 
victories. Her last thought was for their success. 
She spoke to Edward of a king's true vocation, to 
Pedro of his knightly duties in the help of widows 
and orphans, to Henry of a general's care for his 
men. On the I3th, the last day of her illness, she 
roused herself to ask " What wind was blowing so 
strong against the house ? " and hearing it was the 
north, sank back and died, exclaiming, " It is the 
wind for your voyage, that must be about St. James* 
Day." It would have been false respect to delay. 
The spirit of the Queen, the crusaders felt, was with 
them, urging them on. 

By the night of the 25th of July the fleet had left 
the Tagus ; on the 2/th the crusaders anchored in 
the bay of Lagos and mustered all their forces : " 33 
galleys, 27 triremes, 32 biremes, and 120 pinnaces 
and transports/' carrying 50,000 soldiers and 30,000 
mariners. Some nobles and merchant adventurers 
from England, France, and Germany took part. It 
was something like the conquest of Lisbon over 
again ; a greater Armada for a much smaller prey. 

150 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

On the loth of August they were oil Algezlras, 
still in Moorish hands, as part of the kingdom of 
Granada, and on the I2th the lighter craft were over 
on the African coast ; a strong wind nearly carried 
the heavier into Malaga. 

Ceuta, the ancient Septa,* once repaired by Jus- 
tinian, was the chief port of Morocco and a centre 
of commerce for the trade routes of the South and 
East, as well as a centre of piracy for the Barbary 
corsairs. It had long been an outpost of Moslem 
attack on Christendom ; now that Europe was taking 
the offensive, it would be an outpost of the Spanish 
crusade against Islam. 

The city was built on the ordinary model, in two 
parts: a citadel and a port-town, which together 
covered the neck of a long peninsula running out 
some three miles eastward from the African main- 
land, and broadening again beyond the eastern wall 
of Ceuta into a hilly square of country. 

It was here, just where the land began to spread 
and form a natural harbour, that the Portuguese had 
planned their landing, and to this point Prince Hen- 
ry, with great trouble, brought up the heavier craft. 
The strong currents that turned them off to the 
Spanish coast, proved good allies of the Europeans 
after all. For the Moors, who had been greatly 
startled at the first signs of attack, and had hurried 
to get all the help they could from Fez and the 
upland, now fancied the Christian fleet to be scat- 
tered once for all, and dismissed all but their own 

* City of " Seven " Hills, as some have derived it. 

14151 The Conqtiest of Ceuta. 151 

garrison; while the Portuguese had been roused 
afresh to action by the fiery energy of King John, 
Prince Henry, and his brothers. On the night of 
the isth of August, the Feast of the Assumption, 
the whole armada was at last brought up to the 
roads of Ceuta ; Henry anchored off the lower town 
with his ships from Oporto, and his father, though 
badly wounded In the leg, rowed through the fleet 
in a shallop, preparing all his men for the assault 
that was to be given at daybreak. Henry himself 
was to have the right of first setting foot on shore, 
where It was hoped the quays would be almost bared 
of defenders. For the main force was brought up 
against the castle, and every Moor would rush to the 
fight where the King of Portugal was leading. 

While these movements were being settled In the 
armada, all through that night Ceuta was brilliantly 
lighted up, as if enf$te. The Governor in his terror 
could think of nothing better than to frighten the 
enemy with the show of an immensely populous 
city, and he had ordered a light to be kept burning 
in every window of every house. As the morning 
cleared and the Christian host saw the beach and 
harbour lined with Moors, shouting defiance, the at- 
tack was begun by some volunteers who forgot the 
Prince's claim. One Ruy Gonsalvez was the first to 
land and clear a passage for the rest. The Infantes, 
Henry and Edward, were not far behind, and after 
a fierce struggle the Moslems were driven through 
the gate of the landing-place back to the wall of the 
city. Here they rallied, under a " negro giant, who 
fought naked, but with the strength of many men, 

152 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

hurling the Christians to the earth with stones." At 
last he was brought down by a lance-thrust, and the 
crusaders forced their way into Ceuta. But Henry, 
as chief captain on this side, would not allow his 
men to rush on plundering into the heart of the 
town, but kept them by the gates, and sent back to 
the ships for fresh troops, who soon came up under 
Fernandez d'Ataide, who cheered on the Princes. 
" This is the sort of tournament for you ; here you 
are getting a worthier knighthood than you could 
win at Lisbon/* 

Meantime the King, with Don Pedro, had heard 
of Henry's first success while still on shipboard, and 
ordered an instant advance on his side. After a 
still closer struggle than that on the lower ground, 
the Moors were routed, and Pedro pressed on 
through the narrow streets, just escaping death from 
the showers of heavy stones off the house tops, till 
he met his brothers in a mosque, or square adjoining, 
in the centre of Ceuta. 

Then the conquerors scattered for plunder, and 
came very near losing the city altogether. But for 
the dogged courage of Henry, who twice broke up 
the Moslem rally with a handful of men, at last hold- 
ing a gate on the inner wall between the lower town 
and the citadel, " with seventeen, himself the eigh- 
teenth," Ceuta would have been lost after it had been 
gained. Both Henry and Pedro were reported dead. 
"Such is the end a soldier must not fear," was all 
their father said, as he stayed by the ships under the 
lee of the fortress, waiting, like Edward III. at Cregy, 
for what his sons would do. But towards evening it 

1415] The Conquest of Ceuta. 153 

was known throughout the army that the Princes 
were safe, that the port-town had been gained, and 
that the Moors were slipping away from the citadel. 

Henry, Edward, and Pedro held a council, and 
settled to storm the castle next morning ; but after 
sunset a few scouts, sent out to reconnoitre, reported 
that all the garrison had fled. 

It was true. The Governor, who had despaired 
all along of holding out, was no sooner beaten out 
of the lower city than he set the example of a 
strategic movement up the country, and when the 
Portuguese appeared at the fortress gate with axes 
and began to hew it down, only two Moors were left 
inside. They shouted out that the Christians might 
save themselves that trouble, for they would open it 
themselves, and the standard of St. Vincent, Patron 
of Lisbon, was planted, before dark came, upon the 
highest tower of Ceuta. 

King John offered Henry, for his gallant leader- 
ship, the honours of the day and the right to be 
knighted before his brothers, but the Prince, who 
had offered at the beginning of the storm to resign 
his command to Edward, as the eldest, begged that 
" those who were before him in age might have their 
right, to be first in dignity as well," and the three 
Infantes received their knighthood in order of birth, 
each holding in his hands the bare sword that the 
Queen had given him on her deathbed. 

It was the first Christian rite held In the great 
Mosque of Ceuta, now purified as the Cathedral, and 
after it the town was thoroughly and carefully 
sacked from end to end. The plunder, of gold and 

154 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

silver and gems, stuffs and drugs, was great enough 
to make the common soldiers reckless of other 
things. The " great jars of oil and honey and spices 
and all provisions " were flung out into the streets, 
and a heavy rain swept away what would have kept a 
large garrison in plenty. 

The great nobles and the royal Princes took back 
to Portugal some princely spoils. Henry's half- 
brother, now Count of Barcellos, afterwards more 
famous and more troublesome as Duke of Braganza, 
chose for his share some six hundred columns of 
marble and alabaster from the Governor's palace. 
Henry himself gained in Ceuta a knowledge of inland 
Africa, of its trade routes and of the Gold Coast, 
that encouraged him to begin from this time the 
habit of coasting voyages. His earlier essays in ex* 
ploration had been attempts, like the unconnected 
and occasional efforts of Spanish and Italian dare- 
devils. It is from this year that continuous ocean 
sailing begins ; from the time of his stay in Ceuta, 
Henry works steadily and with foresight towards a 
nearer goal well foreseen, a first stage in his wider 
scheme which had been traversed by men he had 
known and talked with. They had come into Ceuta 
from Guinea over the sea of the desert ; he would 
send his sailors to their starting-point by the longer 
way, over the desert of the sea. 

Thus the victory at Ceuta is not without a very 
direct influence on our subject ; and for the same 
reason, it was important that the conquerors, instead 
of razing the place, decided to hold it. When most 
of the council of war were for a safe and quick return 


14153 The Conquest of Ceuta. 155 

to Portugal, one noble, Pedro de Menezes, a trusted 
friend of Henry's, struck upon the ground Im- 
patiently a stick of orange-wood he had in his hands. 
" By my faith, with this stick I would defend Ceuta 
from every Morisco of them all." He was left In 
command, and thus kept open, as It were, to Europe 
and to the Prince's view, one end of a great avenue 
of commerce and intercourse, which Henry aimed at 
winning for his country. When his ships could once 
reach Guinea, the other end of that same line was in 
his hands as well. 

The King and the Princes left Ceuta in Septem- 
ber of the same year (Sept. 2, 1415), but Henry's 
connection with his first battle-field was not yet over. 
Menezes found after three years* sole command, that 
the Moors were pressing him very hard. The King 
of Granada had sent seventy-four ships to blockade 
the city from the sea, and the troops of Fez were 
forcing their way into the lower town. Henry was 
hurriedly sent from Lisbon to its relief, while Edward 
and Pedro got themselves ready to follow him, if 
needed, from Lagos and the Algarve coast. But 
Ceuta had already saved itself. As the first succours 
were sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar, Menezes 
contrived to send them word of his danger ; the Ber- 
bers on the land side had mastered Almina, or the 
eastern part of the merchant town, while the Gra- 
nada galleys had closed in upon the port itself. At 
this news Henry made the best speed he could, but 
he was only in time to see the rout of the Moors. 
Menezes and the garrison made a desperate sally 
directly they sighted the relief coming through 

156 Prince Henry the Navigator. 0415 

the straits ; the same appearance struck a panic 
into the enemy's fleet, and only one galley stayed on 
the African coast to help their landsmen, who were 
thus left alone and without hope of succour on the 
eastern hills of the Ceuta peninsula, cut off by the 
city from their Berber allies. When Henry landed, 
Almina had been won back and the last of the 
Granada Moslems cut to pieces. From that day 
Ceuta was safe in Christian hands. 

But the Prince, after spending two months in the 
hope that he might find some more work to do in 
Africa, planned a daring stroke in Europe. Islam 
still owned in Spain the kingdom of Granada, too 
weak to reconquer the old Western Caliphate, but 
too strong, as the last refuge of a conquered and 
once imperial race, to be an easy prey of the Spanish 
kingdoms. And in that kingdom, Gibraltar, the rock 
of Tarik, was the most troublesome of Moorish 
strongholds. The Mediterranean itself was nqtf ufiy 
secured for Christian trade and intercourse while 
the European Pillar of the Western straits was a 
Saracen fort. If Portugal was to conquer or explore 
in northern Africa, Gibraltar was as much to be 
aimed at as Ceuta. Both sides of the straits, Calpe 
and Abyla, must be in her hands before Christendom 
could expand safely along the Atlantic coasts. 

So Henry, in the face of all his council, determined 
to make the trial on his voyage back to Lisbon. But 
a storm broke up the fleet, and when it could be re- 
fitted and re-formed, the time had gone by, and the 
Prince obeyed his father's repeated orders and re- 
turned at once to Court. For his gallantry and skill 

141 53 Connection of Ceuta with Henry's Plans. 157 

in the storm of Ceuta, he had been made Duke of 
Viseu and Lord of Covilham, when King John 
first touched his own kingdom after the African 
campaign at Tavira, on the Algarve coast. With 
his brother Pedro, who shared his honours as 
Duke of Coimbra and Lord of the lands hence- 
forward known as the Infantado or Principality, 
Henry thus begins the line of Dukes in Portugal, 
and among the other details of the war, his name is 
specially joined with that of an English fleet which 
he had enrolled as a contingent of his armada while 
recruiting for ships and men in the spring of 1415. 
In the same way as English crusaders had passed 
Lisbon just in time to aid in its conquest by 
Affonso Henriquez, the " great first King " of Por- 
tugal in 1 147, so now twenty-seven English ships on 
their way to Syria were just in time to help the Por- 
tuguese make their first conquest abroad. 

Lastly, the results of the Ceuta campaign in giving 
positive knowledge of western and inland Africa to a 
mind like Henry's already set on the finding of a sea- 
route to India, have been noticed by all contempo- 
raries and followers, who took any interest in his 
plans, but it was not merely caravan news that he 
gained in these two visits of 1415 and 1418. Both 
Azurara, the chronicler of his voyages and Diego 
Gomez, his lieutenant, the explorer of the Cape 
Verde Islands and of the Upper Gambia, are quite 
clear about the new knowledge of the coast now 
gained from Moorish prisoners. 

Not only did the Prince get " news of the passage 
of merchants from the coasts of Tunis to Timbuctoo 

158 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

and to Cantor on the Gambia, which inspired 
him to seek the lands by the way of the sea," but 
also " the Tawny Moors (or Azanegues) his prisoners, 
told him of certain tall palms growing at the mouth 
of the Senegal or western Nile, by which he was 
able to guide the caravels he sent out to find that 
river/' By the time Henry was ready to return 
from Ceuta to Portugal for good and all, in 1418, 
there were clearly before his mind the five reasons 
for exploring Guinea given by his faithful Azurara : 

First of all was his desire to know the country 
beyond Cape Bojador, which till that time was 
quite unknown either by books or by the talk of 

Second was his wish that if any Christian people 
or good ports should be discovered beyond that 
cape, lie might begin a trade with them that would 
profit both the natives and the Portuguese, for he 
knew of no other nation in Europe who trafficked In 
those parts. 

Thirdly, he believed the Moors were more power- 
ful on that side of Africa than had been thought, 
and he feared there were no Christians there at all. 
So he was fain to find out how many and how strong 
his enemies really were. 

Fourthly, in all his fighting with the Moors he 
had never found a Christian prince to help him from 
that side (of further Africa) for the love of Christ, 
therefore he wished, If he could, to meet with such. 

Last was his great desire for the spread of the 
Christian Faith and for the redemption of the vast 
tribes of men lying under the wrath of God. 

1415] Connection of Ceuta witk Henry's Plans. 159 

Behind all these reasons Azurara also believed in 
a sixth and deeper one, which he proceeds to state 
with all gravity, as the ultimate and celestial cause 
of the Prince's work. 

" For as his ascendant \vas Aries, that is in the 
House of Mars and the Exaltation of the Sun, and 
as the said Mars is in Aquarius, which is the House 
of Saturn, it was clear that my lord should be a 
great conqueror, and a searcher out of things hidden 
from other men, according to the craft of Saturn, in 
whose House he was." * 

* The attempts of Henry and his family to conquer a land-empire in 
northern Africa are not to be separated from the maritime and 
coasting explorations. They were two aspects of one idea, two faces 
of the same enterprise. 

In the same way the new bishopric of Ceuta, now founded, was a 
first step towards the organised conversion of the Heathen of the 
South. The Franciscans had founded the See of Fez and Morocco 
in 1233, but it had not till now been followed up. 




HATEVER the Prince owed to his stay 
at Ceuta beyond the general sugges- 
tion and encouragement to take up a 
life-profession of discovery, It was at 
any rate put into practice on his second 
and last return (1418). From that time 
to the end of his life he became a recluse from the 
Court life of Lisbon, though he soon gathered round 
himself a rival Court, of science and seamanship. 

The old " Sacred Cape " of the Romans, then 
called Sagres, now the " CapeSt.Vincent" of Nelson 
and modern maps, was his chosen home for the next 
forty years, though he seems to have passed a good 
deal of his time In his port of Lagos, close by. 

In 1419 King John made him Governor for life of 
the Algarves (the southern province of Portugal) and 
the new governor at once began to rebuild and en- 
large the old naval arsenal, in the neck of the Cape f 
into a settlement that soon became the " Prince's 


1418-1428] Thejnfanfs Town. 161 

Town/' In Lagos, Ills ships were built and manned ; 
and there, and in Sagres itself, all the schemes of 
discovery were thought out, the maps and instru- 
ments corrected, and the accounts of past and 
present travellers compared by the Prince him- 
selL His results then passed into the instructions 
of his captains and the equipment of his caravels. 
The Sacred Cape, which he now colonised, was at 
any rate a good centre for his work of ocean voy- 
aging. Here, with the Atlantic washing the land 
on three sides, he was well on the scene of action. 
There were buildings on Sagres headland as old as 
the eleventh century ; Greek geography had made 
this the starting-point of its shorter and continental 
measurements for the length of the habitable world, 
and the Genoese, whose policy was to buy up points 
of vantage on every coast, were eager to plant a 
colony there, but Portugal was not ready to become 
like the Byzantine Empire, a depot for Italian com- 
merce, and Henry had his own reasons for securing 
a desolate promontory. 

On this he now built himself a palace, a chapel, a 
study, an observatory the earliest in Portugal and 
a village for his helpers and attendants. " In his 
wish to gain a prosperous result for his efforts, the 
Prince devoted great industry and thought to the 
matter, and at great expense procured the aid of one 
Master Jacome from Majorca, a man skilled in the 
art of navigation and in the making of maps and 
instruments, and who was sent for, with certain of 
the Arab and Jewish mathematicians, to instruct the 
Portuguese in that science." So at least, says De 

1 62 Prince fTenry the RTavigator* 

Barros, the "Livy of Portugal." At Sagres was 
thus founded anew the systematic study of applied 
science in Christendom ; it was better than the 
work of the old Greek " University " at Alexandria 
with which it has been compared, because it was 
essentially practical. From it "our sailors/' says 
Pedro Nunes, " went out well taught and pro- 
vided with instruments and rules which all map- 
makers should know." We would gladly know 
more of Henry's scientific work ; a good many legends 
have grown up about it, and even his foundation of 
the Chair of Mathematics in the University of Lisbon 
or Coimbra, our best evidence of the unrecorded 
work of his school, has been doubted by some 
modern critics, even by the national historian, Alex- 
ander Herculano. But to Prince Henry's study and 
science two great improvements on this side may be 
traced: first in the art of map-making, secondly 
in the building of caravels and ocean craft. 

The great Venetian map of Fra Mauro of the 
Camaldolese convent of Murano, finished in 1459, 
one year before the Navigator's death, is evidence 
for the one; Cadamosto's words, as a practical 
seaman, of Italian birth, In Henry's service, that the 
"caravels of Portugal were the best sailing ships 
afloat," may be proof sufficient of the other. 

On both these lines, Henry took up the results of 
Italians and worked towards success with their aid. 
As Columbus and the Cabots and Verazzano in later 
times represented the intellectual leadership of Italy 
to other nations Spain, England, and France ; but 
kad to find their career and resources not in their 

1428] The Sagres Settlement 163 

own commercial republics, but at the Courts of the 
new centralised kingdoms of the West, where a 
paternal despotism gave the best hope of guiding 
any popular movement, social or religious or political 
or scientific, so in the earlier fifteenth century, 
mariners like Cadamosto and De Nolli, scientific 
draughtsmen like Fra Mauro and Andrea Bianco, 
looked from Venice and Genoa to the Court of 
Sagres and to the service of Prince Henry as their 
proper sphere, where they would find the encour- 
agement and reward they sought for at home and 
often sought in vain. 

Henry's settlement on Cape St. Vincent was not 
long without results. The voyage of his captain, 
John de Trasto, to the " fruitful " district of Grand 
Canary In 1415 was not In any sense a discovery, as 
the conquest of John de Bethencourt In 1402 had 
made these "Fortunate" islands perfectly well 
known, but the finding of Porto Santo and Madeira 
In 1418-20 was a real gain. For the Machin story 
of the English landing in Madeira was a close secret, 
which by good fortune passed into the Prince's keep- 
ing, but not beyond, so that as far as general knowl- 
edge went, the Portuguese were now fairly embarked 
upon the Sea of Darkness. 

First came the sighting of the " Holy Haven " in 
1418. In this year, says Azurara, two squires of the 
Prince's household, named John Gonsalvez Zarco and 
Tristam Vaz, eager for renown and anxious to serve 
their lord, had set out to explore as far as the coast of 
Guinea, but they were caught by a storm near Lagos 
and driven to the Island of Porto Santo. This name 

164 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1413- 

they gave themselves " at this very time in their joy 
at thus escaping the perils of the tempest." 

Zarco and Vaz returned in triumph to Sagres and 
reported the new-found island to be well worth a 
permanent settlement. Henry, always "generous," 
took up the idea with great interest and sent out 
Zarco and Vaz with another of his equerries, one 
Bartholomew Perestrello, to colonise, with two ships 
and products for a new country ; corn, honey, the 
sugar cane from Sicily, the Malvoisie grape from 
Crete, even the rabbit from Portugal. 

On his first return voyage Zarco had captured the 
pilot Morales of Seville, and from him the Prince 
had gained certain news of the English landing in 
Madeira. So it was with a definite purpose of 
further discovery that his captains returned to Porto 
Santo in 1420, with Morales as their guide. Now, 
as before, Zarco appears as chief in command ; he 
had won himself a name at Ceuta, and if the tradition 
be true, had just brought in the first use of ship- 
artillery; the finding of Porto Santo was mainly 
credited to him. 

Sailing from Lagos kfjune, 1420, he had no sooner 
reached once again the " Fair Haven " of his first 
success, than he was called to note a dark line, like a 
mark of distant land, upon the south-west horizon. 
The colonists he had left on his earlier visit had 
watched this day by day till they had made certain 
of its being something more than a passing appear- 
ance of sea or sky, and Morales was ready with his 
suggestion that this was Machin's island. The fog 
that hung over this part of the ocean would be 

1428] The First Discoveries. 165 

natural to a thick and dank woodland like that on 
the Island of his old adventure. 

Zarco resolved to try : After eight days' rest in 
Porto Santo he set sail, and, observing that the fog 
grew less toward the east of the cloud bank, made 
for that point and came upon a low marshy cape, 
which he called St. Lawrence Head. Then, creeping 
round the south coast, he came to the high lands 
and the forests of Madeira, so named here and 
now, either as De Barros says, " from the thick woods 
they found there/' or, in the form of Machico, from 
the first discoverer, luckless Robert Machin. For 
on landing the Portuguese, guided by Morales, soon 
found the wooden cross and grave of the English- 
man and his mistress, and it was there that Zarco, 
with no human being to dispute his title, "took 
seizin" of the island m the name of King John, 
Prince Henry, and the Order of Christ. 

Embarking once more, he then coasted slowly 
round from the " River of the Flint" to " Jackdaw 
Point," and the " Chamber of the Wolves,' 1 where 
his men started a herd of sea-calves. So he came to 
the vast plain overgrown with fennel or " Funchal/' 
where the chief town of after days grew up, A 
party sent inland to explore, reported that on every 
side the ocean could be seen from the hills; and 
Zarco, after taking in some specimens of the native 
wood and plants and birds at Funchal, put back in 
the last days of August to Portugal. 

He was splendidly received at Court, made a count 
" Count of the Chamber of the Wolves/' and 
granted the command of the island for his own life. 

1 66 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1418- 

A little later, the commandership was made heredi- 
tary in his family. Tristam Vaz, the second in the 
Prince's commission, was rewarded too : the northern 
half of Madeira was given him as a captaincy, and in 
1425 Henry began to colonise in form. Zarco, as 
early as May, 1421, had returned with wife and 
children and attendants, and begun to build the 
" port of Machico," and the " city of Funchal," but 
this did not become a state affair until four years 
more had gone by. 

But from the first, the island, by its export of wood 
and dragon's blood and wheat, began to reward the 
trouble of discovery and settlement. Sugar and 
wine were brought to perfection in later years, after 
the great " Seven years' fire " had burnt down the 
forests and enriched the soil of Madeira. It was 
soon after Zarco's return to Funchal that he first set 
fire to the woods behind the fennel fields of the 
coast, to clear himself a way through the under- 
growth into the heart of the island ; the fire blazed 
and smouldered till it had taken well hold of the 
entire mass of timber that covered the upper coun- 
try, nothing in the feeble resources of the first set- 
tlers could stop it, and Madeira lighted the ships of 
Henry on their way to the south, like a volcano, till 
1428. This was at least the common story as told In 
Portugal, and it was often joined with another of the 
rabbit plague, which ate up all the green stuff of the 
island in the first struggling years of Zarco's settle- 
ment, and so prevented the export of anything but 
timber. So much of this was brought into Portugal 
that Henry's lifetime is a landmark in the domestic 

1428] The First Discoveries. 167 

architecture of Spain, and from the trade of the 
" Wood Island " is derived the lofty style of build 
ing that now began to replace the more modest 
fashion of the Arabs. 

A charter of Henry's, dated 1430, ten years after 
the rediscovery of Madeira, and reciting the names 
of some of the first settlers, and his bequest of the 
island, or rather of its " spiritualties," to the Order 
of Christ on September 18, 1460, just before his 
death, are the chief links between this colony and 
the home country in the next generation but in the 
history of institutions there are few more curious 
facts than the insistence of the Prince on a census 
for his little " Nation." From the first, the family 
registers of the colonists were carefully kept, and 
from these we see something of the wonder of men 
who were beginning human life, as it were, In a 
new land. The first children born In Madeira a 
son and daughter of Ayres Ferreira, one of Zarco's 
comrades were christened Adam and Eve.* 

*In 1418 and 14245 Henry purchased and tried to secure certain 
rights of possession in the Canaries, conceded by De Bethencourt ; 
and these attempts were repeated in 1445 and 1446. 



UT in spite of Zarco's success, Cape 
Bojador had not yet been passed, 
though every year, from 1418, caravels 
had left Sagres, "to find the coasts of 

In 1428, Don Pedro, Henry's elder 
brother, had come home from his travels, with all 
the books and charts he had collected to help the 
explorers and it Is practically certain that the 
Mappa Mundi given him in Venice acted as a 
direct suggestion to the next attempts on west and 
south westward to the Azores, southward towards 

Kept in the royal monastery of Alobaga till late 
in the sixteenth century, though now irrecoverably 
lost, this treasure of Don Pedro's, like his " manu- 
scripts of travel," would seem to have been used at 
the Sagres school till Prince Henry's death, and at 
least as early as 1431 its effect was seen in the first 
Portuguese recovery of the Azores. All the West 
African islands, plainly enough described in the 


1428-1441] Discoveries along' Africa. 169 

map of 1428, were half within, half without the 
knowledge of Christendom, ever and anon being 
brought back or rediscovered by some accident or 
enterprise, and then being lost to sight and memory 
through the want of systematic exploration. This 
was exactly what the Portuguese supplied. The 
Azores, marked on the Laurentian Portulano of 1351, 
were practically unknown to seamen when, after 
eighty years had passed, Gonzalo Cabral was sent 
out from Sagres to find them (1431). He reached 
the Formiga group the Ant islands, and next 
year (1432) returned to make further discover- 
ies, chiefly of the island Santa Maria. But the 
more important advances on this side were made 
between 1444-50, after the first colony had been 
planted twelve or fourteen years, and were the 
result of the Prince's theoretical correction of his 
captains* practical oversight. From a comparison 
of old maps and descriptions with their accounts, he 
was able to correct their line of sail and so to direct 
them to the very islands they had searched for in 

But as yet these results were far distant, and the 
slow and sure progress of African coasting towards 
Cape Bojador was the chief outcome of Pedro's 
help. In 1430, 1431, and 1432, the Infant urged 
upon his captains the paramount importance of 
rounding the Cape, which had baffled all his caravels 
by its strong ocean currents and dangerous rocks. 
At last this became the Prince's one command : 
Pass the Cape if you do nothing beyond ; yet the 
years went by, King John of good memory died in 

1 70 Prince Henry the Navigator. M428- 

1433, and Gil Eannes, sent out in the same year with 
strong hopes of success, turned aside at the Canaries 
and only brought a few slaves back to Portugal. A 
large party at Court, in the Army, and among the 
nobles and merchant classes, complained bitterly of 
the utter want of profit from. Henry's schemes, and 
there was at this time a danger of the collapse of his 
movement. For though as yet he paid his own 
expenses, his treasury could not long have stood the 
drain without any incoming. 

Bojador, the "paunch" or " bulging Cape," 180 
miles beyond Cape Non, had been, since the days 
of the Laurentian Portulano (1351), and the Catalan 
and Portuguese voyages of 1341 and 1346, the 
southmost point of Christian knowledge. A long 
circuit was needed here, as at the Cape of Good 
Hope, to round a promontory that stretched, men 
said, fully one hundred miles into the ocean, where 
tides and shoals formed a current twenty miles 
across. It was the sight or the fancy of this 
furious surge which frightened Henry's crews, 
for it plainly forbade all coasting and compelled 
the seamen to strike into the open sea out of 
sight of land. And though the discovery of Porto 
Santo had proved the feasibility and the gain of 
venturing boldly into the Sea of Darkness, and 
though since that time (1418) the Prince had sent 
out his captains due west to the Azores and south- 
west to Madeira, both hundreds of miles from the 
continent, yet in rounding Bojador there were not 
only the real terrors of the Atlantic, but the legends 
of the tropics to frighten back the boldest. 

1441] Discoveries along Africa* 171 

Most mariners had heard it said that any Chris- 
tian who passed Bojador would infallibly be changed 
into a black, and would carry to his end this mark 
of God's vengeance on his insolent prying. The 
Arab tradition of the Green Sea of Night had too 
strongly taken hold of Christian thought to be easily 
shaken off. And it was beyond the Cape which 
bounded their knowledge that the Saracen geog- 
raphers had fringed the coast of Africa with sea- 
monsters and serpent rocks and water unicorns, 
instead of place names, and had drawn the horrible 
giant hand of Satan raised above the waves to seize 
the first of his human prey that would venture into 
his den. If God made the firm earth, the Devil 
made the unknown and treacherous ocean this was 
the real lesson of most of the mediaeval maps, and it 
was this ingrained superstition that Henry found his 
worst enemy, appearing as it did sometimes even in 
his most trusted and daring captains. 

And then again, the legends of Tropical Africa, of 
the mainland beyond Bojador, were hardly less 
terrible than those of the Tropical Ocean. The 
Dark Continent, with its surrounding Sea of Dark- 
ness, was the home of mystery and legend. We 
have seen how ready the Arabs were to write Un- 
inhabitable over any unknown country dark seas 
and lands were simply those that were dark to them, 
like the Dark Ages to others, but nowhere did their 
imagination revel in genies and fairies and magicians 
and all the horrors of hell, with more enthusiastic 
and genial interest than in Africa. Here only the 
northern parts could be lived in by man. In the 

1 72 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1428- 

south and central deserts, as we have heard from the 
Moslem doctors themselves, the sun poured down 
sheets of liquid flame upon the ground and kept the 
sea and the rivers boiling day and night with the 
fiery heat. So any sailors would of course be boiled 
alive as soon as they got near to the Torrid Zone. 

It was this kind of learning, discredited but not 
forgotten, that was still in the minds of Gil Eannes 
and his friends when they came home in 1433, with 
lame excuses, to Henry 's Court. The currents and 
south winds had stopped them, they said. It was 
impossible to get round Bojador. 

The Prince was roused. He ordered the same 
captain to return next year and try the Cape again. 
His men ought to have learned something better 
than the childish fables of past time. "And if," 
said he, " there were even any truth in these stories 
that they tell, I would not blame you, but you come 
to me with the tales of four seamen who perhaps 
know the voyage to the Low Countries or some 
other coasting route, but, except for this, don't know 
how to use needle or sailing chart. Go out again 
and heed them not, for by God's help, fame and 
profit must come from your voyage, if you will but 

The Prince was backed by the warm encourage- 
ment of the new King, Edward, his eldest brother, 
who had only been one month upon the throne when 
he bestirred himself to shew his favour to a national 
movement of discovery. King John had died on 
August 14, 1433 (the anniversary of Aljubarrota), 
and on September 26th, of the same year, by a 

1441] Discoveries along" Africa* 1 73 

charter given from Cmtra, King Edward granted the 
islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, with the 
Desertas, to Henry as Grand Master of the Order of 

With this encouragement the Infant sent out Gil 
Eannes in 1434 under the strongest charge not to 
return without a good account of the Cape and the 
seas beyond. Running far out into the open, his 
caravel doubled Bojador, and coming back to the 
coast found the sea "as easy to sail in as the 
waters at home/' and the land very rich and pleas- 
ant. They landed and discovered no trace of men or 
houses, but gathered plants, " such as were called in 
Portugal St. Mary's roses/* to present to Don Henry. 
Not even the southern Cape of Tempests or Good 
Hope was so long and obstinate a barrier as Bojador 
had been, and the passing of this difficulty proved 
the salvation of the Prince's schemes. Though again 
and again interrupted by political troubles between 
1437 and 1449, the advance at sea went on, and never 
again was there a serious danger of the failure of the 
whole movement through general opposition and 

In 1435 Gil Eannes was sent out again to follow 
up his success with Affonso Baldaya, the Prince's 
cupbearer, in a larger vessel than had yet been risked 
in exploration, called a varinel, or oared galley. 
The two captains passed fifty leagues one hundred 
and fifty miles beyond the Cape, and found traces 
of caravans, reached as far as an inlet they named 
Gurnet Bay, from its shoals of fish, and again put 
back to Lagos, early in the year. 

174 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1428- 

There were still several months left for ocean 
sailing in 1435, and Henry at once despatched Bal- 
daya again in his varinel, with orders to go as far 
as he could along the coast, at least till he could find 
some natives. One of these he was to bring home 
with him. Baldaya accordingly sailed 130 leagues 
390 miles beyond Cape Bojador, till he reached an 
estuary running some, twenty miles up the country 
and promising to lead to a great river. This might 
prove to be the western Nile of the Negroes, or the 
famous River of Gold, Baldaya thought, and though 
it proved to be only an inlet of the sea, the name of 
Rio d'Ouro, then given by the first hopes of the 
Portuguese, has outlasted the disappointment that 
found only a sandy reach instead of a waterway to 
the Mountains of the Moon and the kingdom of 
Prester John. 

Baldaya anchored here, landed a couple of horses 
which the Infant had given him to scour the country, 
and set " two young noble gentlemen " upon them 
to ride up country, to look for signs of natives, and 
if possible to bring back one captive to the ship. 
Taking no body-armour, but only lance and sword, 
the boys followed the " river " to its source, seven 
leagues up the country, and here came suddenly 
upon nineteen savages, armed with assegais. They 
rode up to them and drove them out of the open up 
to a loose mound of stones ; then as evening was 
coming on and they could not secure a prisoner, 
they rode back to the sea and reached the ship 
about the dawn of day. " And of these boys/' says 
the chronicler, " I myself knew one, when he was a 

14411 Discoveries along Africa. 1 75 

noble gentleman of good renown In arms. His name 
was Hector Homen, and you will find Mm in our 
history well proved in brave deeds. The other, 
named Lopez d'Almeida, was a nobleman of good 
presence, as I have heard from those who knew 

This first landing of Europeans on the coasts of 
unknown Africa, since the days of Carthaginian 
colonies, is one of the great moments In the story of 
Western expansion and discovery. For it means that 
Christendom on her Western side has at last got be- 
yond the first circle of her enemies, the belt of set- 
tled Moslem ground, and has begun to touch the 
wider world outside, on the shore of the ocean as 
well as along the Eastern trade routes. And It 
almost seemed to be of little practical value that 
Marco Polo and the friars and traders who followed 
him had passed Islam in Asia, and reached even 
furthest Tartary, for it only made more clear that 
Asia was not Christian, and that there would have 
to be a deadly struggle before European influence 
could be restored on this side to what It had been 
under Alexander ; but on the west, by the Atlantic 
coasts, once Morocco had been passed, there were 
only scattered savage tribes to be dealt with. Bal- 
daya had now reached the pagans beyond Islam ; 
the rival civilisation of the Arabs and their converts 
had been almost outflanked by Don Henry's ships ; 
and the boys who rode up the Rio d'Ouro beach in 
1435 were the first pickets of a great army. Their 
charge upon a body of grown men ten times their 
number, was a prophecy of the coming conquests of 

1 76 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

Christian Europe in the new worlds It was now in 
search of, in south and east and west. 

Now Baldaya instantly followed up his pioneers. 
He took a party in his ship's boat and rowed up the 
stream to the scene of the fight, with the boys on 
horseback riding by the bank and shewing him the 
stone-heap where the natives had rallied on the day 
before. But in the night they had all fled farther 
up country, leaving most of their miserable goods 
behind. All these were carried off, and the Portu- 
guese left the Bay of the Horses, as they called this 
farthest reach of the Rio d'Ouro, and pulled back to 
the varinel, without any further success than a whole- 
some disappointment. They must go farther south- 
ward if they were to find the western Nile and the 
way round Africa. 

Still Baldaya was not content. He wished to carry 
back a prisoner, as Henry had charged him, and so 
he coasted along fifty leagues more, from the Rio 
d'Ouro to the Port of Gallee, a rock that looked like 
a galley, where there was a more prominent head- 
land than he had passed since Bojador. Here he 
landed once again, and found some native nets, made 
of the ; bark of trees, but none of the natives who 
made them. 

In the early months of 1436 he and his varinel were 
again in Portuguese waters ; but the land had now 
been touched that lay three hundred miles beyond 
the old African Fimsterre, and In two years (1434-6) 
Portugal and all the Christian nations, through 
Henry's work, had entered on a new chapter of his- 
tory. The narrower world of the Roman Empire 

1440 Discoveries along Africa. 1 77 

and the Mediaeval Church was already growing Into 
the modern globe in the break up of that old terror 
of the sea which had so long fixed for men the 
bounds that they must not pass. The land routes 
had been cleared to Western knowledge, though not 
mastered, by the Crusades ; now the far more dreaded 
and unknown water-way was fairly entered. For up 
to this time there is no fair evidence that either 
Christian or Moorish enterprise had ever rounded 
Bojador, and the theoretical marking of it upon maps 
was a very different thing from the experience that 
it was just like any other cape, and no more an end 
of the world than Cape St. Vincent itself. Neither 
Genoese, nor Catalans, nor Normans of Dieppe, nor 
the Arab wanderers of Edrisi and Ibn Said were 
before Don Henry now. His discoveries of the 
Atlantic islands were findings, rediscoveries; his 
coast voyages from the year 1433 are all ventures in 
the true unknown. 

But from 1436 to 1441, from Baldaya's second 
return to the start of Nuno Tristam and Antam 
Gonsalvez for Cape Blanco, exploration was not suc- 
cessful or energetic. The simple cause of this was 
the Infant's other business. In these years took 
place the fatal attempt on Tangier, the death of King 
Edward, and the troubles of the minority of his 
child, Affonso V. Affonso the African conqueror of 
later years. 

True it is, we read in our Chronicle of the Dis- 
covery of Guinea, that in these years there went to 
those parts two ships, one at a time, but the first 
turned back In the face of bad weather, and the other 

178 Prince Henry the Navigator. [i428-t44t 

only went to the Rio d'Ouro for the skins and oil of 
sea wolves, and after taking in a cargo of these, went 
back to Portugal. And true it is, too, that in the 
year 1440 there were armed and sent out two cara- 
vels to go to that same land, but in that they met 
with contrary fortune, we do not tell any more of 
their voyage. 



HE Prince's exile from politics in his 
hermitage at Sagres could not be ab- 
solutely unbroken. He was ready to 
come back to Court and to the battle 
field when he was needed. So he 
appeared at the deathbed of his 
father In 1433 and of Ills brother In 1438, at the 
siege of Tangier in 1437, and during the first years 
of the Regency (1438-40) he helped to govern for 
his nephew, Edward's son Affonso. From 1436 till 
1441 he did not seriously turn his attention back to 

What Is chiefly interesting in the story of these 
years Is the half-religious reverence paid to Henry 
by his brothers, by Cort6s, and the whole people. 
He was above and beyond his age, but not so much 
as to be beyond its understanding. He was not a 
leader where there are no followers ; he was one of 
the fortunate beings who are most valued by those 
who have lived on the closest terms with them, by 
father and by brothers. 

It was believed throughout the kingdom that King 

i8o Prince Henry the Navigator. 11433- 

John's last words were " an encouragement to the In- 
fant to persevere in his right laudable purpose of 
spreading the Christian faith in the lands of dark- 
ness " ; whether true or not, at any rate it was felt to 
fit the place and the man, and Henry's brothers, 
Pedro and Edward, took up loyally their father's 
commission to keep peace at home and sailing ships 
on the sea. 

But the new reign was short and full of trouble. 
King Edward had scarcely been crowned when the 
scheme of an African war was revived by Don Fer- 
dinand, the fourth of the " Famous Infants " of the 
House of Aviz (1433). Ferdinand, always a Cru- 
sader at heart, had refused a Cardinal's hat, that he 
might keep his strength for killing the enemies of 
Christ, and in Henry he found a ready listener. It 
was the Navigator, in fact, who planned and organ- 
ised the scheme of campaign now pressed upon the 
King and the country. It was perfectly natural that 
he should do so. The war of Ceuta had been of the 
first importance to his work of discovery; it had 
been largely his own achievement, and his wish to 
conquer Heathens and Saracens and to make good 
Christians of them was hardly less strong than his 
natural bent for discovery and exploring settlement. 
He now took up Ferdinand's suggestion, made of it 
a definite project for a storm of Tangier and 
wrung a reluctant consent from Edward and from 
Cort6s. The chief hindrance was lack of money; 
even the popularity of the Government could not 
prevent " sore grudging and murmuring among the 
people." Don Pedro himself was against the whole 

1441] Henry in Politics. 1 8 1 

plan, and from respect to his wishes the question 
was referred to the Pope. Are we to make war on 
the Infidels or no ? 

If the infidels in question, answered the Curia, 
were in Christian land and used Christian churches as 
mosques of Mohammed, or if they made Incursions 
upon Christians, though always returning to their 
own land, or If doing none of these things they were 
Idolaters or sinned against nature, the Princes of 
Portugal would do right to levy war upon them. 
But this should be done with prudence and piety, 
lest the people of Christ should suffer loss. Further, 
It was only just to tax a Christian people for 
support of an Infidel war, when the said war was of 
necessity In defence of the kingdom. If the war 
was voluntary, for the conquering of fresh lands from 
the Heathen, It could only be waged at the King's 
own cost. 

But before this answer arrived, the armament had 
been made ready, and things had gone too far to 
draw back ; the Queen was eager for the war, and 
had brought King Edward to a more willing consent. 
So in the face of bad omens, an illness of Prince 
Ferdinand's, and the warning words of Don Pedro, 
the troops were put on board ship, August 17, 1437. 
On August 22d they set sail, and on the 26th landed 
at Ceuta, where Menezes still commanded. The 
European triumphs of 1415 and 1418 were still fresh 
in the memories of the Moors, and Don Henry was 
remembered as their hero. So it was to him that 
the tribes of the Beni Hamed sent offers of submis- 
sion and tribute on the first news of the invasion. 

1 82 Prince Henry the Navigator. ci433~ 

The Prince accepted their presents of gold and sil- 
ver, cattle and wood, and left them in peace during 
the war, for the forces he had with him were barely 
sufficient for the siege of Tangier. Out of fourteen 
thousand men levied in Portugal, only six thousand 
answered the roll-call in Ceuta. A great number had 
shirked the dangers of Africa ; and the room on ship- 
board had in itself been absurdly insufficient. The 
transports provided were just enough for the battal- 
ions that actually crossed, and for a fresh supply 
they must be sent back to Lisbon. In the council 
of war most were agreed upon this as the best thing 
on paper, but the practical difficulties were so great 
that Henry decided not to wait for reinforcements, 
but to push forward with the troops in hand. 

The direct road to Tangier by way of Ximera was 
now found impassable, and it was determined to 
march the army round by Tetuan, while the fleet 
was brought up along the coast. Ferdinand, who 
was still suffering and unequal to the land journey, 
was, to go by sea, while his elder brother, as chief 
captain of the whole armament, undertook to force 
his way along the inland routes. In this he was suc- 
cessful. In three days he came before Tetuan, 
which opened its gates at once, and on September 
23d, without losing a single man, he appeared before 
Old Tangier, where Ferdinand was already waiting 
his arrival. 

A rumour was now spread that the Moors were 
flying from Tangier as they had fled from Ceuta 
castle nineteen years before, but Zala ben Zala, 
who commanded here as he had done there, 

1441] Henry in Politics. 183 

now knew better how to defend a town, with the 
desperate courage of his Spanish foes. The attack 
instantly ordered by Henry on the gates of Tangier 
was roughly repulsed, and for the next fortnight the 
losses of the crusaders were so heavy that the siege 
was turned into a blockade. On September 3oth, 
10,000 horse and 90,000 foot came down from the 
upland to the coast for the relief of Tangier. Henry 
promptly led his little army into the open and 
ordered an attack, and the vast Moorish host which 
had taken up its station on a hill within sight of the 
camp, not daring to accept the challenge, wavered, 
broke, and rushed headlong to the mountains. But 
after three days they reappeared in greater numbers 
and even ventured down into the plain. Again 
Henry drove them back; again next day they 
returned ; at last, after their force had been swollen 
to 130,000 men, and by overwhelming numbers had 
compelled the Christians to keep within their 
trenches, they threw themselves upon the Portuguese 
outposts. After a desperate struggle they were 
repulsed and a sally from the town was beaten back 
at the same time ; the Europeans seemed ready to 
meet any odds. With these victories, Henry was 
confident that Tangier must soon fall ; he ordered 
another escalade, but all his scaling ladders were 
burnt or broken and many of his men crushed be- 
neath the overhanging parts of the wall, that were 
pushed down bodily upon the storming parties. In 
this final assault of the 5th of October, two Moors 
were taken who told Henry of immense succours 
now coming up under the Kings of Fez, of Morocco, 

1 84 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1433- 

and of Tafilet. They had with them, said the cap- 
tives, at least 100,000 horse; their Infantry was 
beyond count. Sure enough ; on the gth of Octo- 
ber, the hills round Tangier seemed covered with the 
native armies, and it became clear that the siege 
must be raised. All that was left for Henry was to 
bring off his soldiers in safety. He tried his best. 
With quiet energy he issued his orders for all con- 
tingents ; the marines and seamen were to embark 
at once; the artillery was given in charge of the 
Marshal of the Kingdom ; Almada, the Hercules of 
Portugal, was to draw up the foot in line of battle ; 
the Infant himself took his station with the cavalry 
on a small piece of rising ground. 

When the Moors charged, they were well received. 
In spite of all their strength, one army being held 
ready to take another's place, as men grew tired, the 
Portuguese held their own. Henry had a horse 
killed under him ; Cabral, his Master of Horse, fell 
at his side with five and twenty of his men ; the 
cowardice of one regiment, who fled to the ships, 
almost ruined the defence ; but when night fell, the 
Moorish columns fell sullenly back and left the 
Infant one more chance of flight and safety. It was 
the only hope, and even this was lost through the 
desertion of a traitor. Martin Vieyra, the apostate 
priest, once Henry's chaplain, now gave up to the 
enemy's generals the whole plan of escape. 

After a long debate, it was determined, not to 
massacre the Christian army, but to take sureties 
from them that Ceuta should be restored with all the 
Moorish captives in the Prince's hands. These terms 

1441] Henry in Politics. 185 

were accepted, for it was soon known that escape 
was hopeless. 

But next morning a large party of Moors, with 
more than the ordinary Moslem treachery, made a 
last fierce attempt to surprise the camp. For eight 
hours, eight separate attacks went on ; when all had 
failed, the retreating Berbers tried to set fire to the 
woodwork of the entrenchments. With the greatest 
trouble, Henry saved his timbers, and tinder cover 
of night fortified a new and smaller camp close to 
the shore. Food and water had both ran short, and 
the besiegers, who were now become the besieged, 
had to kill their horses and cook them, with saddles 
for fuel. They were saved from a fatal drought by 
a lucky shower of rain, but their ruin was only a 
matter of time, for it was hopeless to try an embarka- 
tion under the walls of the city with all the hosts of 
Morocco waiting for the first chance of a successful 
storm ; but the losses of the native kings and chiefs 
had been so great that they were ready to sign a 
written truce and to keep their cut-throats to the 
terms of it. 

On the 1 5th of October, Don Henry, for the 
Portuguese, agreed that Ceuta, with all the Moorish 
prisoners kept in guard by Menezes, should be given 
up and that no further attack should be made by 
the King of Portugal on any side of Barbary for one 
hundred years. The arms and baggage of the 
crusaders were to be surrendered at once : directly 
this was done they were to embark, with none of the 
honours of war, and to sail back at once to Europe. 
Don Ferdinand was left with twelve nobles as host- 

1 86 Prince Henry the Navigator. 04-33- 

ages for the treaty till Ceuta was restored ; on the 
other side Zala ben Zala's eldest son was all the 
security given Even after this, a plot was laid to 
massacre the "Christian dogs" as they passed 
through the streets of Tangier, on their free passage 
to the harbour which the treaty secured them. 
Henry got wind of this just in time, and instantly 
embarked his men by boats from the shore outside 
the walls, but his rearguard was set upon just as they 
were leaving the land and about sixty were killed. 

It was a terrible disaster. Although his losses 
were but some five hundred killed and disabled, 
Henry was overcome with the disgrace. As he 
thought of his brother among the Moors, he refused 
to show his face in Portugal and shut himself up in 
Ceuta. Here, as he worried himself to find some 
means of saving Ferdinand, he fell dangerously ill, 
till fresh hope came to him with the arrival of Don 
John, whom Edward had sent to the help of his 
brothers with some reserves from Algarve. Henry 
and John consulted about Ferdinand's ransom and 
at last offered their chief hostage, Zala ben Zala's 
boy, as an exchange for the Infant. It was the only 
ransom, they told the Moors, that would ever be 
thought of ; Ceuta would never be surrendered, t 

Don John's mission was a failure, as might have 
been expected, and both the Princes were now re- 
called to Portugal, where Henry steadily refused to 
go to Court, staying at Sagres in an almost complete 
retirement from his usual interests, till King Ed- 
ward's death forced him again into action. It was 
the unavoidable shame of the only choice given to 

1441] Henry in Politics. 187 

himself and the kingdom that paralysed his energy, 
and made him moody and helpless through this time 
of Inaction and disgrace. 

* s Captive he saw his brother, bright Fernand 
The Saint, aspiring high with purpose brave, 
Who as a hostage in the Saracen's hand 
Betrayed himself his 'leagnred host to save. 
Lest bought with price of Cexta's potent town 
To public welfare be preferred his own." * 

The mere failure to storm Tangier was brilliantly 
atoned for by the bravery of the army and the re- 
peated victories over Immensely superior force. But 
now either Ceuta must be exchanged for Ferdinand, 
or the youngest and favourite brother of the House 
of Aviz must be left to die among the Berbers. 
Many, if not most of the Cort6s, summoned in 1438 
to Leirla to discuss the ransom, were In favour of 
letting Ceuta go ; but all the chiefs of the Govern- 
ment, except the King himself, " thought It not just 
to deliver a whole people to the fury of the infidels 
for the liberty of one man." Even Henry at last 
agreed in this with Don Pedro and Don John. 

Edward was In despair; he was willing to pay 
almost any price to recover Ferdinand, and In hope 
of finding support he now appealed from his own 
royal house and his nobles to the Pope, the car- 
dinals, and the crowned heads of Europe. All 
agreed that a Christian city must not be bartered 
even for a Christian Prince ; Edward's offers of 
money and "perpetual peace" were scornfully re 

*Camoens* Lusiads^ iv., 52. 

1 88 Prince Henry the Navigator. 11433- 

jected by the Moors, who held to their bond " Ceuta 
or nothing " and their wretched captive, treated to 
all the filthy horrors of Mussulman imprisonment 
and slavery and torture, died under his agony in the 
sixth year of his living death and the forty-first of 
his age, 5th June, 1443. 

Before this his loss had dragged down to the same 
fate his eldest brother, King Edward, and but for 
the inspiration of a great purpose, which again put 
meaning into his life, Henry might have died of the 
same " illness of soul." Every Portuguese burned 
to revenge the Constant Prince ; the Pope was called 
upon to approve a new crusade, levies were made 
and vessels built, when the plague broke out with 
terrible violence, and ravaged every class and every 
district as it had not since the days of the Black 
Death. The King, seized by it in his misery and 
weakness and bitter disappointment, fell a victim. 
The wreck of all his hopes left him with hardly a 
wish to live, and on September 9, 1438, at the age 
of forty-seven, and after a reign of five years, he died 
at Thomar, in the act of breaking open a letter, but 
not before Henry had come to his side. 

To the last he kept on working for his people, and 
it was in the fatigue of travelling from one plague- 
stricken town to another that he caught the pest. 
Among all the kings of Christendom there was never 
a better, or nobler, or more luckless, an Alfred with 
the fortune of " Unready " Ethelred. 

By his last will there was fresh trouble provided 
for Don Henry and Don Pedro and the Cortes. His 
successor the child Affonso V., now six years of 

14411 Henry in Politics. 189 

age was strictly charged to rescue Ferdinand even 
at the price of Ceuta ; this was nothing to practical 
politics ; but in naming his wife, Leonor of Aragon, 
along with Don Pedro and Don Henry, as guardian 
of his children and regent of the kingdom, he put 
power in the wrong place. 

The Portuguese were always intensely suspicious 
of foreign government, and after the age of Leonora 
Telles they might well refuse a female Regent. On 
the other side King Edward's Queen, who had won 
his absolute trust as a wife and a mother, was not will- 
ing to stand aside for Pedro or for Henry. She be- 
gan to organise a party, and as she worked on her side, 
the nobles and the patriots counterworked on theirs* 
Don John was the first of her husband's brothers to 
take his natural place as a leader of the national 
opposition ; Henry for a time seemed to waver be- 
tween friendship and loyalty; all who knew the 
Queen loved her, but the people hated the very no- 
tion of a foreign female reign. Like John Knox 
they could not be fair to the Monstrous Regiment 
of Women, and their voices grew clearer and clearer 
for Don Pedro and his rights, real or supposed. The 
eldest of the young King's uncles, the right-hand 
man of the State since his return from travel in 1428, 
he was the proper guardian of the kingdom ; Henry 
was a willing exile from most of Court life, though 
his support was the greatest moral strength of any 
government; John had begun the movement of 
discontent, but no one thought of him before his 
brothers ; while they lived his only part was in help- 
ing them on their way. 

i go Prince Henry the Navigator. [1433- 

Donna Leonor recognised her chief danger in Don 
Pedro, and tried to win him over. When she sum- 
moned Cort6s, she pressed him to sign the royal 
writs ; then she offered to betroth his daughter Isa- 
bel to her son; Pedro secured a written promise, 
and waited for the opening of the National Assem- 
bly in 1439. Here a fierce outcry was raised by a 
party of the nobles against the marriage-settlement 
of their King, but Don Pedro was too strong to be 
put down. He moved on by slow and steady in- 
trigue towards the Regency he claimed. Henry had 
now appeared as peacemaker, and in his brother's in- 
terests arranged a compromise. The Queen was to 
keep the actual charge of her children, and to train 
the little King for his duties ; Pedro was to govern 
the state as " Defender of the Kingdom and of the 
King " ; the Count of Barcellos, soon to be Duke of 
Braganza, the leader of the factious and fractious 
party, was to be bought off with the Administration 
of the Justice of the Interior. 

The Queen at first struggled on against this de- 
thronement ; fortified herself in Alefriquer, and sent 
for help from her old home in Aragon. At this the 
mob rose in fury and only Henry was able to pre- 
vent a massacre and a war that would have stopped 
the expansion of Portugal abroad for many a day. 
He went straight to Alemquer (1439), talked Queen 
Leonor into reason, and brought her back with him 
to Lisbon, where she introduced Affonso to his 
people and his Parliament. For another year Henry 
stayed at Court, completing his work of settlement 
and reconciliation, and towards the end of 1440 that 


Henry in Politics. 


work seemed fairly safe. The fear of civil war was 
over ; Don Pedro's government was well started ; 
Henry could now go back to Sagres to his other 
work of discovery. 

It was time to do something on this side. For In 
the past five years scarcely any progress had been 
made to Guinea and the Indies, 



UT with the year 1441 discovery begins 
again in earnest, and the original nar- 
ratives of Henry's captains, which old 
Azurara has preserved in his chronicle, 
become full of life and interest. From 
this point to the year 1448, where 
ends the Chronica, its tale is exceedingly pictur- 
esque, as it was written down from the remem- 
brance of eye-witnesses and actors in the discoveries 
and conquests it records. And though the detail 
may be wearisome to a modern reader as a wordy 
and emotional and unscientific history, yet the story 
told is delightfully fresh and vivid, and it is told 
with a simple na"ivet and truth that seems now 
almost lost in the self-consciousness of modern 

" It seems to me, says our author " (Azurara's 
favourite way of alluding to himself), " that the re- 
cital of this history should give as much pleasure as 
any other matter by which we satisfy the wish of 
our Prince ; and the said wish became all the greater, 


1441-1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 193 

as the things for which he had toiled so long, were 
more within his view. Wherefore I will now try to 
tell of something new/' of some progress "in his 
wearisome seedtime of preparation." 

" Now it was so that in this year 1441, as the 
affairs of the kingdom had now some repose, though 
it was not to be a long one, the Infant caused them 
to arm a little ship, which he gave to Antam Gon- 
salvez, his chamberlain, a young captain, only charg- 
ing him to load a cargo of skins and oil. For because 
his age was so unformed, and his authority of needs 
so slight, he laid all the lighter his commands upon 
him and looked for all the less in performance." 

But when Antam Gonsalvez had performed the 
voyage that had been ordered him, he called Affonso 
Goterres, another stripling of the Infant's house- 
hold and the men of his ship, who were in all twenty- 
one, and said to them, Brothers and friends, it seems 
to me to be shame to turn back to our Lord's 
presence, with so little service done ; just as we have 
received the less strict orders to do more than this, so 
much more ought we to try it with the greater zeal. 
And how noble an action would it be, if we who came 
here only to take a cargo of such wretched merchan- 
dise as these sea wolves, should be the first to bring 
a native prisoner before the presence of our Lord. 
In reason we ought to find some hereabout, for it is 
certain there are people, and that they traffic with 
camels and other beasts, who bear their merchandise ; 
and the traffic of these men must be chiefly towards 
the sea and back again ; and since they have yet no 
knowledge of us, they will be scattered and off their 

194 Prince Henry the Navigator, 

guard, so that we can seize them ; with all which our 
Lord the Infant will be not a little content, as he 
will thus have knowledge of who and what sort of 
people are the dwellers In this land. Then what 
shall be our reward, you know well enough from 
the great expense and trouble our Prince has been 
at, in past years, only to this one end. 

The crew shouted a hearty " Do as you please ; we 
will follow," and in the night following Antam Gon- 
salvez set aside nine men, who seemed to him most 
fit, and went up from the shore about three miles, 
till they came on a path, which they followed, think- 
ing that by this they might come up with some man 
or woman, whom they might catch. And going on 
nine miles farther they came upon a track of some 
forty or fifty men and boys, as they thought, who 
had been coming the opposite way to that our men 
were going. Now the heat was very great and by 
reason of that, as well as of the trouble they had 
been at, the long tramp they had on foot and the 
failure of water, Antam Gonsalvez saw the weariness 
of his men, that it was very great. So let us turn 
back and follow after these men, said he, and turn- 
ing back toward the sea, they came upon a man 
stark naked, walking after and driving a camel, with 
two spears in his hand, and of our men, as they 
rushed on after him, there was not one who kept any 
remembrance of his great weariness. As for tjhe 
native, though he was quite alone, and saw so ma.ny 
coming down upon him, he stood on his defence^ as 
if wishing to show that he could use those weapons 
of his, and making his face by far more fierce t!han 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 195 

his courage was warrant for. Affonso Goterres 
struck him with a dart and the Moor, frightened by 
his wounds, threw down his arms like a conquered 
thing and so was taken, not without great joy of our 
men. And going on a little farther they saw upon 
a hill the people whose track they followed. And 
they did not want the will to make for these also, 
but the sun was now very low and they very weary, 
and thinking that to risk more might bring them 
rather damage than profit, they determined to go 
back to their ship. 

But as they were going, they came upon a blacka- 
moor woman, a slave of the people on the hill, and 
some were minded to let her alone, for fear of rais- 
ing a fresh skirmish, which was not convenient in the 
face of the people on the hill, who were still in sight 
and more than twice their number. But the others 
were not so poor-spirited as to leave the matter thus, 
An tarn Gonsalvez crying out vehemently that they 
should seize her. So the woman was taken and 
those on the hill made a show of coming down to 
her rescue ; but seeing our men quite ready to receive 
them, they first retraced their steps and then made 
off in the opposite direction. And so Antam Gon- 
salvez took the first captives. 

And for that the philosopher saith, resumes the 
next chapter of the chronicle, that the beginning is 
two parts of the whole matter, great praise should 
be given to this noble squire, who now received his 
knighthood, as we shall tell. For now we have to 
see how Nuno Tristam, a noble knight, valiant and 
zealous, who had been brought up from boyhood at 

196 Prince Henry the Navigator. CI441- 

the Infant's Court, came to that place where was 
Antam Gonsalvez, bringing with him an armed caravel 
with the express order of his lord that he was to go 
to the port of Gallee and as far beyond as he could, 
and that he should try and make some prisoners by 
every means in his power. And you may imagine 
what was the joy of the two captains, both natives of 
one and the self-same realm and brought up in one 
and the self-same household, thus to meet so far 
from home. And now Nuno Tristam said that an 
Arab he had brought with him, a servant of the 
Infant, should speak with Gonsalvez' prisoners, and 
see if he understood their tongue, and that if he 
understood it, it would profit them much thus to 
know all the state and conditions of the people of 
that land. But the tongue of the Arab was very 
different from that of the captives, so that they 
could not understand each other. 

And when Nuno Tristam perceived that he could 
not learn any more of the manner of that land, he 
would fain be gone, but envy made him wish to do 
something before the eyes of his fellows that should 
be good for all. 

You know, he said to Antam Gonsalvez, that for 
fifteen years the Infant has been seeking in vain 
for certain news of this land and its people, in what 
law or lordship they do live. Now let us take 
twenty men, ten from each of the crews, and go up 
country in search of those that you found. Not 
so, said the other, for those whom we saw will 
have warned all the others, and peradventure when 
we are looking out to capture them, we may in our 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 197 

turn become their prisoners. But where we have 
gained a victory let us not return to suffer loss. 
Nuno Tristam said this counsel was good, but 
there were two squires whose longing to do well 
outran all besides. Gonsalo de Cintra was the 
first of these, whose valour we shall know more of 
in the progress of this history, and he counselled 
that as soon as it was night they should set out In 
search of the natives, and so it was determined. 
And such was their good fortune that they came 
early in the night to where the people lay scattered 
in two dwellings; now the place between the two 
was but small, and our men divided themselves in 
three parties and began to shout at the top of their 
voice " Portugal," " St. James for Portugal/* the noise 
of which threw the enemy into such confusion, that 
they began to run without any order, as ours fell 
upon them. The men only made some show of de- 
fending themselves with assegais, especially two who 
fought with Nuno Tristam till they received their 
death. Three others were killed and ten were 
taken, of men, women, and children. But without 
question, many more would have been killed or 
taken if all our men had rushed In together at the 
first. And among those who were taken was one of 
their chiefs, named Adahu, who shewed full well in 
his face that he was nobler than the rest. 

Then, when the matter was well over, all came to 
Antam Gonsalvez and begged him to be made a 
Knight, while he said it was against reason that for 
so small a service he should have so great an honour, 
and that his age would not allow it, and that he 

198 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

would not take it without doing greater things than 
these, and much more of that sort. But at last, by 
the instant demand of all others, Nuno Tristam 
knighted Antam Gonsalvez, and the place was called 
from that time " Port of the Cavalier/' 

When the party got back to the ships, Nuno Tris- 
tam's Arab was set to work again, with no better 
success, " for the language of the captives was not 
Moorish but Azaneguy of Sahara/* the tongue of the 
great desert zone of West Africa, between the end 
of the northern strip of fertile country round Fez 
and Morocco, and the beginning of the rich tropical 
region at the Senegal, where the first real blacks were 
found. The Portuguese were in despair of finding a 
prisoner who could " tell the lord Infant what he 
wanted to know," but now the chief, " even as he 
shewed that he was more noble than the other cap- 
tives, so now it appeared that he had seen more than 
they, and had been to other lands where he had 
learnt the Moorish tongue so that he understood our 
Arab and answered to whatever was asked of him.'* 

And so to make trial of the people of the land and 
to have of them more certain knowledge, they put 
that Arab on shore and one of the Moorish women 
their captives with him, who were to speak to the 
natives if they could, about the ransom of those they 
had taken and about exchange of merchandise. 

And at the end of two days there came down to 
the shore quite one hundred and fifty Moors on foot, 
and thirty-five mounted on camels and horses, and 
though they seemed to be a race both barbarous 
and bestial, there was not wanting in them a cer- 

14453 The Coasting of West Africa. 199 

tain sharpness, with which they could cheat their 
enemies, for at first there only appeared three of 
them on the beach, and the rest lay In ambush till 
our men should land and they could rush out and 
master them, which thing they could easily have 
done, so many were they, if our men had been a 
whit less sharp than themselves. But when the 
Moors saw that our boats did not land, but turned 
back again to the ship, they discovered their treach- 
ery, and all came down in a body upon the beach, 
hurling stones and making gestures of defiance, shew- 
ing us the Arab we had sent to them as a captive in 
their hands. 

So our men came back to the ship and made 
their division of the prisoners, according to the lot of 
each. And Antam Gonsalvez turned back because 
he had now loaded his caravel with the cargo that 
the Infant had ordered him, but Nuno Tristam went 
on, as he for his part had in charge. But as his ves- 
sel was in need of repair, he put to shore and 
careened and refitted it as well as he could, keeping 
his tides as if he were before the port of Lisbon, at 
which boldness of his many wondered greatly. And 
sailing on again, he passed the port of " Gallee," and 
came to a cape which he called " The White" (Cape 
Blanco), where the crew landed to see if they could 
make any captures. But after finding only the 
tracks of men and some nets, they turned back, see- 
ing that for that time they could not do any more 
than they had already done. 

Antam Gonsalvez came home first with his part of 
the booty and then arrived Nuno Tristam, " whose 

2OO Prince Henry the Navigator. [1441- 

present reception and future reward were answerable 
to the trouble he had borne, like a fertile land that 
with but little sowing answers the husbandman." 

The chief, or " cavalier " as he is called, whom 
Antam Gonsalvez brought home was able to " make 
the Infant understand a great deal of the state of 
that land where he had been," though as for the rest, 
they were pretty well useless, except as slaves, " for 
their tongue could not be understood by any other 
Moors who had been in that land/* But the Prince 
was so encouraged by the sight of the first captives 
that he at once began to think " how it would be 
necessary to send to those parts many a time his 
ships and crews well armed, where they would have 
to fight with the infidels. So he determined to send 
at once to the Holy Father and ask of him that he 
should give him of the treasures of Holy Church, for 
the salvation of the souls of those who in this con- 
quest should meet their end." 

Pope Eugenius IV., then reigning, if not govern- 
ing, in the great Apostolic See of the West, 
answered this appeal " with great joy " and with 
all the rhetoric of the Papal Register. "As it 
hath now been notified to us by our beloved son 
Henry, Duke of Viseu, Master of the Order of 
Christ, that trusting firmly in the aid of God, for 
the confusion of the Moors and enemies of 
Christ in those lands that they have desolated, 
and for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, 
the Knights and Brethren of the said Order of 
Christ against the said Moors and other enemies 
of the Faith have waged war with the Grace of 

14453 The Coasting of West Africa. 201 

God, under the banner of the said Order, and to 
the intent that they may bestir themselves to the 
said war with yet greater fervour, we do to each 
and all of those engaged In the said war, by Apos- 
tolic authority and by these letters, grant full re- 
mission of all those sins of which they shall be 
truly penitent at heart and of which they have made 
confession by their mouth. And whoever breaks, 
contradicts, or acts against the letter of this man- 
date, let him lie under the curse of the All-Mighty 
God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.'* 

And besides, adds the chronicle, rather quaintly, 
of more temporal and material benefits, the Infant 
D. Pedro, then Regent of the kingdom, gave to his 
brother Henry a charter, granting him the whole of 
the fifth of the profits which appertained to the 
King, and, considering that it was by him alone that 
the whole matter of the discovery was carried out at 
infinite trouble and expense, he ordered further that 
no one should go to those parts without D. Henry's 
licence and express command. 

The chronicle, which has told us how Antam Gon- 
salvez made the first captives, now goes on to say 
how the same one of the Prince's captains made the 
first ransom. For the captive chief, " that cavalier 
of whom we spoke," Henry's first prize from the 
lands beyond Bojador, pined away in Europe, "and 
many times begged of Antam Gonsalvez that he 
would take him back to his own land, where, as he 
said, they would give for him five or six blackamoors, 
and he said, too, that there were two boys among the 
other captives for whom they would get a like ran- 

202 Prince Henry the Navigator. 13441- 

som." So the Infant sent him back with Gonsalvez 
to his own people, " as it was better to save ten souls 
than three, for though they were black, yet had they 
souls like others, all the more as they were not of 
Moorish race, but Heathen and so all the easier to 
lead into the way of salvation. From the negroes 
too it would be possible to get news of the land 
beyond them. For not only of the Negro land did 
the Infant wish to know more certainly, but also of 
the Indies and of the land of Prester John/* 

So Gonsalvez sailed with his ransom, and in his 
ship went a noble stranger, like Vallarte the Dane, 
whom we shall meet later on, one of a kind which 
was always being drawn to Henry's Court. This 
was Balthasar the Austrian, a gentleman of the 
Emperor's Household, who had entered the Infant's 
service to try his fortune at Ceuta, where he had 
got his knighthood, and who now " was often heard 
to say that his great wish was to see a storm, before 
he left that land of Portugal, that he might tell those 
who had never seen one what it was like. 

And certainly his fortune favoured him. For at 
the first start, they met with such a storm that it was 
by a marvel they escaped destruction." 

Again they put out to sea, and this time reached 
the Rio d'Ouro in safety, where they landed their 
chief prisoner, " very well vested in the robes that 
the Infant had ordered to be given him," under 
promise that he would soon come back and bring 
his tribe with him. 

" But as soon as he got safely off, he very soon for- 
got his promises, which Antam Gonsalvez had trusted, 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa, 203 

thinking that his nobility would hold him fast and 
not let him break his word, but by this deceit all our 
men got warning that they could not trust any of the 
natives save under the most certain security/* 

The ships now went twelve miles up the Rio 
d'Ouro, cast anchor, and waited seven days without 
a sign of anybody, but on the eighth there came a 
Moor, on top of a white camel, with fully one hun- 
dred others who had all joined to ransom the two 
boys. Ten of the tribe were given in exchange for 
the young chiefs, " and the man who managed this 
barter was one Martin Fernandez, the Infant's own 
Ransomer of Captives, who shewed well that he had 
knowledge of the Moorish tongue, for he was under- 
stood by those people whom Nuno Tristam's Arab, 
Moor though he was by nation, could not possibly 
get speech with, except only the one chief, who had 
now escaped." 

With the " Blackamoors," Antam Gonsalvez got as 
ransom what was even more precious, a little gold 
dust, the first ever brought by Europeans direct from 
the Guinea Coast, which more thoroughly won the 
Prince's cause at home and brought over more ene- 
mies and scoffers and indifferentists to his side than 
all the discoveries in the world. 

"Many ostrich eggs, too/' were included in the 
native ransom, " such that one day men saw at the 
Infant's table three dishes of the same, as fresh and 
as good as those of any other domestic fowls." Did 
the Court of Sagres suppose the ostrich to be some 
large kind of hen ? 

What was still more to the Prince's mind, " those 

204 Prince Henry the Navigator* [1441- 

same Moors related, that in those parts there were 
merchants who trafficked in that gold that was found 
there among them " the same merchants, in fact, 
whose caravels Henry had already known on the 
Mediterranean coast, and whose starting-point he 
had now begun to touch. Ever since the days of 
the first Caliphs, this Sahara commerce had gone on 
under the control of Islam ; for centuries these cara- 
vans had crossed the valleys and plains to the south 
of Morocco and sold their goods pepper, slaves, and 
gold dust in Moslem Ceuta and Moslem Andalusia ; 
now, after seven hundred years of monopoly, this 
Moslem trade was broken in upon by the Europeans, 
who, in fifty years* time, broke into the greater 
monopoly of the Indian Seas, when Da Gama sailed 
from Lisbon to Malabar (1497-9). 

Next year (1443) came Nuno Tristam's turn once 
more. People were now eager to sail in the Infant's 
service, after the slaves, and still more the gold dust, 
had been really seen and handled in Portugal, and 
" that noble cavalier/* for each and all of the three 
reasons of his fellows "to serve his lord/* "to gain 
honour/* "to increase his profit/* was eager to 
follow up his first successes. 

Commanding a caravel manned in great part from 
the Prince*s household, he went out straight to Cape 
Blanco, the white headland, which he had been the 
first to reach in 1441. Passing twenty-five leagues, 
seventy-five miles beyond, into the bank or bight of 
Arguin, he saw a little island, from which twenty- 
five canoes came off to meet him, all hollowed out 
ologs of wood, with a host of native savages, " naked 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 205 

not for swimming in the water, but for their ancient 
custom." The natives hung their legs over the sides 
of their boats, and paddled with them like oars, so 
that " our men, looking at them from a distance and 
quite unused to the sight, thought they were birds 
that were skimming so over the water." As for 
their size, the sailors expected much greater marvels 
in those parts of the world, where every map and 
traveller's tale made the sea swarm with monsters as 
big as a continent. 

" But as soon as they saw they were men, then 
were their hearts full of a new pleasure, for that they 
saw the chance of a capture.'* They launched the 
ship's boat at once, chased them to the shore, and 
captured fourteen ; if the boat had been stronger, 
the tale would have been longer, for with a crew of 
seven they could not hold any more prisoners, and 
so the rest escaped. 

With this booty they sailed on to another island, 
"where they found an infinite number of herons, of 
which they made good cheer, and so returned Nuno 
Tristam very joyfully to the Prince." 

This last piece of discovery was of much more 
value than Nuno thought. He saw In it a first-rate 
slave hunting-ground, but It became the starting- 
point for trade and intercourse with the Negro States 
of the Senegal and the Gambia, to the south and 
east. It was here, in the bay of Arguin, where the 
long desert coast of the Sahara makes its last bend 
towards the rich country of the- south, that Henry 
built in 1448 that fort which Cadarnosto found, in 
the next ten years, had become the centre of a great 

so6 Prince Henry the Navigator* [1441- 

European commerce, which was also among the first 
permanent settlements of the new Christian explora- 
tion, one of the first steps of modern colonisation. 

And now the volunteer movement had fairly be- 
gun. Where in the beginning, says Azurara, people 
had murmured very loudly against the Prince's 
enterprise, each one grumbling as if the Infant was 
spending some part of his property, now when the 
way had been fairly opened and the fruits of those 
lands began to be seen in Portugal In much greater 
abundance, men began, softly enough, to praise what 
they had so loudly decried. Great and small alike 
had declared that no profit would ever come of these 
ventures, but when the cargoes of slaves and gold 
began to arrive, all were forced to turn their blame 
into flattery, and to say that the Infant was another 
Alexander the Great, and as they saw the houses of 
others full of new servants from the new discovered 
lands and their property always increasing, there 
were few who did not long to try their fortune in the 
same adventures. 

The first great movement of the sort came after 
Nuno's return at the end of 1443. The men of La- 
gos took advantage of Henry's settlement so near 
them in his town of Sagres, to ask for leave to sail at 
their own cost to the Prince's coast of Guinea. For 
no one could go without his licence. 

One Langarote, a " squire, brought up in the In- 
fant's household, an officer of the royal customs in 
the town of Lagos, and a man of great good sense," 
was the spokesman of these merchant adventurers. 
He won his grant very easily, " the Infant was very 

14453 The Coasting of West Africa. 207 

glad of his request, and bade him sail under the ban- 
ner of the Order of Christ/' so that six caravels 
started In the spring of 1444 on the first exploring 
voyage that we can call national since the Prince 
had begun his work. 

So, as the beginning of general interest in the Cru- 
sade of Discovery which Henry had now preached 
to his countrymen for thirty years, as the beginning 
of the career of Henry's chief captain, the head of 
his merchant allies, as the beginning, in fact, of a new 
and bright period, this first voyage of Langarote's, 
this first Armada sent out to find and to conquer 
the Moors and Blacks of the unknown or half- 
known South, is worth more than a passing notice. 

And this is not for its interest or importance in the 
story of discovery pure and simple, but as a proof 
that the cause of discovery itself had become pop- 
ular, and as evidence that the cause of trade and 
of political ambition had become thoroughly identi- 
fied with that of exploration. The expansion of the 
European nations, which had languished since the 
Crusades, had begun again. What was more unfor- 
tunate, from a modern standpoint, the African slave 
trade, as a part of European commerce, begins here 
too. It is useless to try to explain it away. 

Henry's own motives were not those of the slave- 
driver ; it seems true enough that the captives, when 
once brought home to Spain, were treated, under 
his orders, with all kindness ; his own wish seems to 
have been to use this man-hunting traffic as a means 
to Christianise and civilise the native tribes, to win 
over the whole by the education of a few prisoners. 

208 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1441- 

But his captains did not always aim so high. The 
actual seizure of the captives Moors and Negroes 
along the coast of Guinea, was as barbarous and 
as ruthless as most slave-drivings. There was hardly 
a capture made without violence and bloodshed ; a 
raid on a village, a fire and sack and butchery, was 
the usual course of things the order of the day. And 
the natives, whatever they might gain when fairly 
landed in Europe, did not give themselves up very 
readily to be taught ; as a rule, they fought desper- 
ately, and killed the men who had come to do them 
good, whenever they had a chance. 

The kidnapping, which some of the Spanish patriot 
writers seem to think of as simply an act of Christian 
charity, " a corporal work of mercy," was at the time 
a matter of profit and money returns. Negro bodie* 
would sell well, Negro villages would yield plund-^f 
and, like the killing of wild Irish in the sixteen', 
century, the Prince's men took a Black-Moor hunt 
as the best of sport. It was hardly wonderful, then, 
that the later sailors of Cadamosto's day (1450-60) 
found all the coast up in arms against them, and that 
so many fell victims to the deadly poisoned arrows of 
the Senegal and the Gambia. Every native believed, 
as they told one of the Portuguese captains in a 
parley, that the explorers carried off their people to 
cook and eat them". 

In most of the speeches that are given us in the 
chronicle of the time, the masters encourage their 
men to these slave-raids by saying, first, what glory 
they will get by a victory ; next, what a profit can 
be made sure by a good haul of captives ; last, what 

14453 The Coasting of West Africa. 209 

a generous reward the Prince will give for people 
who can tell him about these lands. Sometimes,, 
after reprisals had begun, the whole thing is an affair 
of vengeance, and thus Lan$arote, in the great voyage 
of 1445, coolly proposes to turn back at Cape Blanco, 
without an attempt at discovery of any sort, " because 
the purpose of the voyage was now accomplished.*' 
A village had been burnt, a score of natives had 
been killed, and twice as many taken. Revenge was 

It was only here and there that much was said 
about the Prince's purpose of exploration, of finding 
the western Nile or, Prester John, or the way round 
Africa to India ; most of the sailors, both men and 
officers, seem to know that this, or something tow- 
ards this, is the " will of their Lord," but it is very 
few who start for discovery only, and still fewer who 
go straight on, turning neither to right hand nor left, 
till they have got well beyond the farthest of previous 
years, and added some piece of new knowledge to the 
map of the known world out of the blank of the 

What terrified ignorance had done before, greed 
did now, and the last hindrance was almost worse 
than the first. So one might say, impatiently, look- 
ing at the great expense, the energy, and time and 
life spent on the voyages of this time, and especially 
of the years 1444-8. More than forty ships sail out, 
more than nine hundred captives are brought home, 
and the new lands found are all discovered by three 
or four explorers. National interest seems awakened 
to very little purpose. But what explains the slow 

2io Prince Henry the Navigator. [mi- 
progress of discovery, explains also the fact that any 
progress, however slow, was made at all, apart from 
the personal action of Henry himself. Without the 
mercantile interest, the Prince's death would have 
been the end and ruin of his schemes for many a 

But for the hope of adventure and of profitable 
plunder, and the certainty of reward ; but for the 
assurance, so to say, of such and such a revenue on 
the ventures of the time, Portuguese " public opin- 
ion " would not probably have been much ahead of 
other varieties of the same organ. In deciding the 
abstract question to which the Prince had given his 
life, the mob of Lisbon or of Lagos would hardly 
have been quicker than modern mobs to rise to a 
notion above that of personal gain. If the cause of 
discovery and an empire to come had been left to 
them, the labour leaders might have said then in 
Spain, as some of them have said to-day in England, 
" What is all this talk about the Empire? What is 
it to us working men ? We don't want the Empire, 
we want more wages/* And so when the great 
leader was dead, and the people were left to carry 
out his will, his spiritual foresight of great scientific 
discoveries, his ideas of conversion and civilisation, 
were not the things for the sake of which ordinary 
men were reconciled to his scheme and ready to 
finish his work. If they thought or spoke or toiled 
for the finding of the way to India, it was to find the 
gold and spices and jewels of an earthly paradise. 

This is not fancy. It is simply impossible to 
draw any other conclusion from the original ac- 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 211 

counts of these voyages in Azurara's chronicle, for 
Azurara himself, though one of Henry's first con- 
verts, a man who realised something of the 
grandeur of his master's schemes and their reach 
beyond a merely commercial ideal through dis- 
covery to empire, yet preserves in the speeches and 
actions of captains and seamen alike, proof enough 
of the thoroughly commonplace aims of most of the 
first discoverers. 

On the other hand, the strength of the movement 
lay of course in the few exceptions. As long as all 
or nearly all the instruments employed were simply 
buccaneers, with a single eye to trade profits, dis- 
covery could not advance very fast or very far. 
Till the real meaning of the Prince's life had im- 
pressed his nearest followers with something of his 
own spirit, there could be no exploration, except 
by accident, though without this background of 
material gain no national interest could have been 
enlisted In exploration at all. 

Real progress in this case was by the slow Increase 
of that inner circle which really shared Henry's own 
ambition, of that group of men who went out, not 
to make bargains or do a little killing, but to carry 
the flag of Portugal and of Christ farther than It 
had ever been planted before, " according to the will 
of the Lord Infant." And as these men were called 
to the front, and only as they were there at all, was 
there any rapid advance. If two sailors, Diego Cam 
and Bartholomew Diaz, could within four years, in 
two voyages, explore the whole south-west coast of 
Africa from the Equator to the Cape of Tern- 

212 Prince Henry the Navigator. C1441- 

pests or of Good Hope, was It not absurd that the 
earlier caravels, after Bojador was once passed, 
should hang so many years round the north-west 
shores of the Sahara ? 

Even some of the more genuine discoverers, the 
most trusted of the Prince's household, men like Gil 
Eannes, the first who saw the coasts beyond the ter- 
rible Bojador, or Diniz Diaz, or Antam Gonsalvez, 
or Nuno Tristam, as they come before us in Azu- 
rara's chronicle, are more like their men than their 

He thought of the slaves they brought home 
" with unspeakable pleasure, as to the saving of 
their souls, which but for him, would have been for 
ever lost." They thought a good deal more, like the 
crowd that gathered at the slave market in Lagos, 
of the "distribution of the captives/' and of the 
money they would get for each. At those sales, 
which Azurara describes so vividly, Henry had the 
bearing of one who cared little for amassing plunder, 
and was known, once and again, to give away his 
fifth of the spoil, " for his spoil was chiefly in the 
success of his great wishes/' But his suite seems to 
have been as keenly on the look-out for such favours 
as their lord was easy in bestowing them. 

To return to Langarote's voyage : 

" For that the Infant knew, by certain Moors that 
Nuno Tristam had carried off, that in the Isle of 
Naar, in the Bay of Arguin, and in the parts there- 
about, were more than two hundred souls," the six 
caravels began with a descent on that island. Five 
boats were launched and thirty men in them, and 

14453 The Coasting of West Africa. 213 

they set off from the ships about sunset. And row- 
Ing all that night, we are told, they came about the 
time of dawn to the island that they sought. And as 
day was breaking they got up to a Moorish village 
close to the shore, where were living all the people in 
the island. At sight of this the boats' crews drew up, 
and the leaders consulted whether to go on or turn 
back. It was decided to attack. Thirty " Portugals " 
ought to be a match for five or six times as many 
natives ; the sailors landed and rushed upon the 
villagers and " saw the Moors with their women and 
children coming out of their huts as fast as they 
could, when they caught sight of their enemy ; and 
our men, crying out ' St. James, St. George, Portu- 
gal/ fell upon them, killing and taking all they could. 
There you might have seen mothers catch up their 
children, husbands their wives, each one trying to 
fly as best he could. Some plunged into the sea, 
others thought to hide themselves in the corners of 
their hovels, others hid their children underneath 
the shrubs that grew about there, where our men 
found them. 

" And at last our Lord God, who gives to all a due 
reward, to* our men gave that day a victory over 
their enemies, in recompence for all their toil in His 
service, for they took, what of men, women, and chil- 
dren, one hundred and sixty-five, without counting 
the slain." 

Then finding from the captives that there were 
other well-peopled islands near at hand, they raided 
these for more prisoners. In their next descent they 
could not catch any men, tiut of women and little 

214 Prince Henry the Navigator. [mi- 
boys, not yet able to run, they seized seventeen or 
eighteen ; soon after this they did meet the " Moor- 
men bold," who were drawing together on all sides to 
defend themselves ; a great power of three hundred 
savages chased another raiding party to their boats. 

That the whole expedition had no thought of 
discovery was plain enough from the fact that Langa- 
rote did not try to go beyond the White Cape 
(Blanco), which had been already passed several 
times, but turned back directly he found the hunting 
grounds becoming deserted, and a descent produ- 
cing no prize, except one girl, who had chosen to go 
to sleep when the rest of the people fled up country 
at the first sight of the Christian boats. 

The voyage was a slave chase from first to last, and 
two hundred and thirty-five Blacks were the result. 
Their landing and their sale at Lagos was a day 
of great excitement, a long remembered 8th of Au- 
gust. "Very early in the morning, because of the 
heat (of the later day) the sailors began to land their 
captives, who as they were placed all together in the 
field by the landing-place, were indeed a wonderful 
sight ; for among them there were some that were 
almost white, of beautiful form and face; others 
were darker ; and others again as black as moles and 
so hideous, alike in face and body, that they looked, 
to any one who saw them, the very images of a 
Lower Hemisphere.'* 

But what heart so stern, exclaims the chronicler, 
as not to be pierced with pity to see that company. 
For some held down their heads, crying piteously, 
others looked mournfully upon one another, others 

141-53 The Coasting of West Africa, 215 

stood moaning very wretchedly, sometimes looking 
up to the height of Heaven, calling out with shrieks 
of agony, as if invoking the Father of Nature ; others 
grovelled upon the ground, beating their foreheads 
with their hands, while others again made their moan 
in a sort of dirge, in their own way, for though one 
could not understand the words, the sense of all was 
plain in the agony of those who uttered it. 

But most terrible was that agony when came the 
partition and each possessor took away his lot. 
Wives were divided from husbands, fathers from sons, 
brothers from brothers, each being forced to go 
\vhere his lot might send him. Parents and children 
who had been ranged opposite one another, now 
rushed forward to embrace, if it were for the last 
time ; mothers, holding their little children in their 
arms, threw themselves down, covering their babes 
with their own bodies. 

And yet these slaves were treated with kindness, 
and no difference was made between them and other 
and freeborn servants. The younger captives were 
taught trades, and those who showed that they could 
manage property were set free and married. Widow 
ladies treated the girls they bought like their own 
daughters, and often left them dowries by will, that 
they might marry as entirely free. Never have I 
known one of these captives, says Azurara, put in 
irons like other slaves, or one who did not become a 
Christian. Often have I been present at the baptisms 
or marriages of these slaves, when their masters 
made as much and as solemn a matter of it as if it 
had been a child or a parent of their own. 

2 1 6 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

During Henry's life the action of buccaneers on 
the African coast was a good deal kept in check by 
the spirit and example and positive commands of 
the Infant, who sent out his men to explore, and 
could not prevent some outrages in the course of 
exploration. Again and again he ordered his captains 
to act fairly to the natives, to trade with them honour- 
ably, and to persuade them by gentler means than 
kidnapping to come to Europe for a time. In the 
last years of his life he did succeed in bettering 
things ; by establishing a regular Government trade 
in the bay of Arguin he brought a good deal more 
under control the unchained devilry of the Portu- 
guese freebooters; Cadamosto and Diego Gomez, 
his most trusted lieutenants of this later time, were 
real discoverers, who tried to make friends of the 
natives rather than slaves. 

In the early days of Portuguese exploration, it may 
also be said, information, first-hand news of the new 
countries and their dangers, was absolutely needed, 
and if the Negroes and the Azaneguy Moors could 
not or would not speak some Christian tongue and 
guide the caravels to Guinea, they must be carried 
off and made fit and proper instruments for the 

It would be out of place here to justify or condemn 
this excuse or to enter on the wider question of the 
right or wrong of the slave-trade in general. It is 
enough to see how brutally the work of "saving 
the Heathen," was carried out by the average 
explorer, when discovery was used as a plea for 

14453 The Coasting of West Africa. 217 

No one then questioned the right of Christians to 
make slaves of Heathen Blacks ; Henry certainly did 
not, for he used slavery as an education, he made cap- 
tives of " Gentiles " for the highest ends, as he be- 
lieved, to save their souls, and to help him in the way 
of doing great things for his country and for Christen- 
dom. He knew more of the results than of the 
incidental cruelty, more of the hundreds taken than 
of the hundreds more killed and maimed and made 
homeless in the taking. For centuries past Moors 
had brought back slaves from the south across the 
Sahara to sell on the coast of Tunis and Morocco ; 
no Christian doubted the right and more than the 
right the merit of the Prince in bringing black 
slaves by sea from Guinea to Lisbon, where they 
might be fairly saved from the grasp of " Foul 

So if it is said that Henry started the African 
slave-trade of European nations, that must not be 
understood as the full-blooded atrocity of the West 
Indian planters, for the use he made of his prisoners 
was utterly different, though his action was the cause 
of incessant abuse of the best end by the worst of 

At the time the gold question was much more im- 
portant than the slave-trade, and most Portuguese, 
most Europeans nobles, merchants, burghers, farm- 
ers, labourers were much more excited by the news 
and the sight of the first native gold dust than by 
anything else whatever. It was the first few hand- 
fuls of this dust, brought home by Gonsalvez in 
1442, that had such a magical effect on public opin* 

2 1 8 Prince Henry the Navigator. [mi- 
ion, that spread the exploring interest from a small 
circle out into every class, and that brought forward 
volunteers on every side. For a Guinea voyage was 
now the favourite plan of every adventurer. 

But however they may be explained, however 
natural and even necessary they may seem to be, as 
things stood in Portugal and in Latin Christendom, 
the slave-trade and the gold hunger hindered the 
Prince's work quite as much as they helped it. If 
further discovery depended upon trade profits, na- 
tive interpreters, and the attractions of material 
interest, there was at least a danger that the discov- 
erers who were not disposed to risk anything, and 
only went out to line their own pockets, would hang 
about the well known coasts till they had loaded all 
the plunder they could hold, and would then simply 
reappear at Sagres with so many more souls for the 
good Prince to save, but without a word or a thought 
of " finding of new lands." And this, after all, was the 
end. Buccaneering on the north-west coast of Africa 
was not what Henry aimed at. 

So he gave a caravel to one of his household, 
Gonsalo de Cintra, "who had been his stirrup-boy/' 
and " bade him go straight to the Land of Guinea, 
and that for no cause whatever should he do other- 
wise." But when De Cintra got to the White Cape 
(Blanco) it struck him that " with very little danger 
he could make some prisoners there/' 

So with a cheerful impudence, in the face of the 
Infant's express commands, he put his ship about 
and landed in that bay of Arguin, where so many 
captures had been made, but he was cut off from 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 219 

the rest of the men, and killed with seven others by 
a host of more than two hundred Moors, and the 
chronicle which tells of all such details at the great- 
est length, stops to give seven reasons for this, 
the first serious loss of life the Europeans had suf- 
fered in their new African piracies. And for the 
rest, " May God receive the soul that He created 
and the nature that came forth from Him, as it is 
His very own. Habetit Dens animam qiiam creavit 
et naturam, quod suum est" (Azurara, ch. 27). 

Three other caravels, which quickly followed De 
Cintra, sailed with special orders to Christianise and 
civilise the natives wherever and however they 
could, and the result of this was seen in the daring 
venture of Joan Fernandez. This man, the pattern 
of all the Crusoes of after time, offered to stay on 
shore among the Blacks " to learn what he could of 
the manners and speech and customs of the people," 
and so was left along with that " bestial and barbar- 
ous " nation for seven months, on the shores of the 
Bank of Arguin, while in exchange for him an old 
Moor went back to Portugal. 

Yet a third voyage was made in this spring of 1445 
by Nuno Tristam. And of this, says Azurara, I 
know nothing very exact or at first hand, because 
Nuno Tristam was dead before the time that King 
Affonso (D. Henry's nephew) commanded me to 
write this history. But this much we do know, that 
he sailed straight to the Isle of Herons in Arguin, 
that he passed the sandy wilderness and landed in 
the parts beyond, in a land fertile and full of palm 
trees ; and having landed he took a score of prison- 

220 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1441- 

ers. And so Nuno Tristam was the first to see the 
country of the real Blacks. In other words, Nuno 
reached Cape Palmar, far beyond Cape Blanco, 
where he saw the palms and got the all-important 
certainty that the desert did end somewhere, and 
that beyond, instead of a country unapproachable 
from the heat, where the very seas were perpetually 
boiling as if in a cauldron, there was a land richer 
than any northern climate, through which men could 
pass to the south. 

Still further was this proved by the next voyage, 
which reached the end of the great western trend of 
the African coast, and found that instead of the 
continent stretching out farther and farther to an 
infinite breadth, there was an immense contraction 
of the coast. 

Diniz Diaz, the eldest of that family which gave 
to Portugal some of her greatest men and makers, 
now begged a caravel from the Prince with the 
promise of " doing more with it than any had done 
before. 1 ' He had done well under old King John, 
and now he kept his word. 

Passing Arguin and Cape Blanco and Cape Palmar, 
he entered the mouth of the Senegal, the western 
Nile, which was now fixed as the northern limit of 
Guinea, or Blackman's Land. "Nor was this a 
little honour for our Prince, whose mighty power 
was thus brought to bear upon the peoples so far 
distant from our land and so near to that of Egypt." 
For Azurara like Diaz, like Henry himself, thought 
not only that the Senegal was the Niger, the west- 
ern Nile of the Blacks, but that the caravels of 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 221 

Portugal were far nearer to India than was the fact, 
were getting close to the Mountains of the Moon 
and the sources of the Nile. 

But Diaz was not content with this. He had 
reached and passed, as he thought, the great west- 
ern stream up which men might sail, in the belief of 
the time, to the mysterious sources of the world's 
greatest river, and so down by the eastern and 
northern course of the same to Cairo and the Chris- 
tian seas. He now sailed on " to a great cape, which 
he named Cape Verde," a green and beautiful head- 
land covered with grass and trees and dotted with 
native villages, running out into the Western Ocean 
far beyond any other land, and beyond which, in 
turn, there was no more western coast, but only 
southern and eastern. From this point Diaz re- 
turned to Portugal. 

" But great was the wonder of the people of the 
coast in seeing his caravel, for never had they seen 
or heard tell of the like, but some thought it was a 
fish, others were sure it was a phantom, others again 
said it might be a bird that had that way of skim- 
ming along the surface of the sea." Four of them 
picked up courage to venture out in a canoe and 
try to settle this doubt. Out they went in their 
little boat, all made from one hollow tree, but when 
they saw that there were men on board the caravel 
they fled to the shore and " the wind falling our men 
could not orertake. 

"And though the booty of Diniz Diaz was far 
less than what others had brought home before him, 
the Prince made very much of his getting to that 

222 Prince Henry the Navigator. [mi- 
land of Negroes and Cape Verde and the Senegal," 
and with reason, for these discoveries assured the 
success of his work, and from this time all trouble 
and opposition were at an end. Mariners now went 
out to sail to the golden country that had been 
found or to the spice land that was now so near; 
men passed at once from extreme apathy or extreme 
terror to an equally extreme confidence. They 
seemed to think the fruit was within reach for them 
to gather, before the tree had been half climbed. 
Long before Fernando Po had been reached, while 
the caravels were still off the coasts of Sierra Leone, 
men at home, from King Affonso to the common 
seamen of the ports, " thought the line of Tunis and 
even of Alexandria had been long passed/' The 
difficult first steps seemed all. 

Now three volunteers, Antam Gonsalvez, and two 
others who had already sailed in the Prince's 
service, applied for the command of ships for the 
discovery and conquest of the lands of Guinea, and 
to bring back Joan Fernandez from his exile. Sail- 
ing past Cape Blanco they set up there a great 
wooden cross and " much would it have amazed any 
one of another nation that should have chanced 
to pass that way, not knowing of our voyages along 
that coast," says Azurara gleefully, giving us proof 
enough in every casual expression of this sort, often 
dropped with perfect simplicity and natural truth- 
fulness, that to his knowledge and that of his coun- 
trymen, to the Europe of 1450, the Portuguese had 
had no forerunners along the Guinea Coast. 

A little south of the Bight of Arguin the caravels 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 223 

sighted a man on the shore making signals to the 
ships, and coming closer they saw Fernandez who 
had much to tell. He had completely won over the 
natives of that part during his seven months' stay, 
and now he was able to bring the caravels to a 
market where trinkets were exchanged for slaves 
and gold with a Moorish chief "a cavalier called 
Ahude Meymam." Then he was taken home to tell 
his story to the Prince, the fleet wasting some time 
in descents on the tribes of the bay of Arguin. 

When he was first put on shore, Joan Fernandez 
told Don Henry, the natives came up to him, took 
his clothes off him and made him put on others of 
their own make. Then they took him up the coun- 
try, which was very scantily clothed with grass, with 
a sandy and stony soil, growing hardly any trees. 
A few thorns and palms were the only relief to the 
barren monotony of this African prairie, over which 
wandered a few nomad e shepherds in search of pas- 
ture for their flocks. There were no flowers, no run- 
ning streams to light up the waste, so Fernandez 
thought at first, till he found one or two exceptions 
that proved the rule. The natives got their water 
from wells, spoke a tongue and wrote a writing that 
was different from that of the other Moors, though 
all these people, in the upland, were Moslems, like 
the Berbers nearer home. For they themselves 
were a tribe, the Azaneguy tribe, of the great Berber 
family, who had four times in the eleventh, twelfth, 
thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries come over to 
help the Moslem power in Spain. 

Yet, said Fernandez, these Moors of the west are 

224 Prince Henry the Navigator. [H4i- 

quite barbarous: they have neither law nor lord- 
ship ; their food is milk and the seeds of wild moun- 
tain herbs and roots ; meat and bread are both rare 
luxuries ; and so is fish for those on the upland, but 
the Moors of the coast eat nothing else, and for 
months together I have seen those I lived among, 
their horses and their dogs, eating and drinking only 
milk, like infants. 'T is no wonder they are weaker 
than the negroes of the south with whom they are 
ever at war, fighting with treachery and not with 
strength. They dress in leather leather breeches 
and jackets, but some of the richer wear a native 
mantle over their shoulders such rich men as keep 
good swift horses and brood mares. It was about 
the trade and religion of the country that Fernandez 
was specially questioned, and his answers were not 
encouraging on either point. The people were 
bigoted, ignorant worshippers of the abominations 
of Mahumet, he said, and their traffic in slaves 
and gold was a small matter after all. The only 
gold he saw in their country was in ankle rings on 
the women of the chiefs ; the gold dust and black 
bodies they got from the negroes they took to 
Tunis and the Mediterranean coast on camels. 
Their salt, on which they set great store, was 
from the Tagazza salt quarries, far inland. The 
chief, Ahude Meymam, who had been so kind to 
Fernandez, lived in the upland ; the Christian 
stranger had been induced to ride up from the coast, 
and had reached the Court only after tortures of 
thirst. The water failed them on the way, and for 
three days they had nothing to drink. 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 225 

Altogether, Fernandez' report discouraged any 
further attempts to explore by land, where all the 
country as far as could be reached seemed to yield 
nothing but desert with a few slender oases. It was 
not indeed till the European explorers reached the 
Congo on their coasting voyages to the south that 
they found a natural and inviting pathway into the 
heart of Africa. The desert of the north and west, 
the fever-haunted swamps and jungle of the Guinea 
Coast only left narrow inlets of more healthy and 
passable country, and these the Portuguese did 
their best to close by occasional acts of savage 
cruelty and impudent fraud in their dealings with 
the natives. 

Another expedition, and that an unlucky one, un- 
der Gonsalo Pacheco, a gentleman of Lisbon, fol- 
lowed this last of Antam Gonsalvez. Pacheco got 
leave to make the voyage, equipped a caravel that 
he had built for himself, and got two others to share 
the risk and profits with him. And so, says Azu- 
rara, hoisting the banners of the Order of Christ, 
they made their way to Cape Blanco. Here they 
found, one league from the Cape, a village, and by 
the shore a writing, that Antam Gonsalvez had set 
up, in which he counselled all who passed that way 
not to trouble to go up and sack the village, as it 
was quite empty of people. So they hung about the 
Bank of Arguin, making raids in various places, and 
capturing some one hundred and twenty natives, all 
of which is not of much interest to any one, though 
as Pacheco and his men had to pay themselves for 

their trouble, and make a profit on the voyage, these 

226 Prince Henry the Navigator. 0441- 

man-hunts were the chief thing they thought about 
and the main thing in their stories when they got 

Men like Pacheco and his friends were not explor- 
ers at all. They stopped far short of the mark 
that Diniz Diaz had made for the European Furth- 
est, and their only discovery was of a new cape one 
hundred miles and more beyond the Bank of Arguin. 
Sailing south, because the natives fled at their ap- 
proach and left the coast land all bare, " they came 
to a headland which they called, Cape St. Anne, by 
which an arm of the sea ran four leagues up the 
country," where they hunted for more prisoners. 

Still in search of slaves and gold they sailed on 
two hundred and fifty miles eighty leagues to 
Negroland, where Diaz had been before, and where 
they saw a land, to the north of the Great Western 
Cape, all green, peopled with men and cattle, but 
when they tried to near the shore and land a storm 
drove them back. For three days they struggled 
against it, but at last they found themselves near 
Cape Blanco, more than three hundred miles to the 
north, where they gave up all thought of trying to 
push into the unknown south, and turned cheerfully 
to their easier work of slave-hunting. In one of 
these raids, a party of seven, in a boat away from all 
the rest, was overpowered and killed like De Cintra's 
men by a large body of natives, " whose souls may 
God in His mercy receive in the Habitation of the 
Saints." The Moors carried off the boat and broke 
it up for the sake of its nails, and Azurara was told 
by some that the bodies of the dead were eaten by 

1445] The Coasting of West Africa. 227 

their brutal conquerors. ' T is certain at least, he 
adds, that their custom is to eat the livers of their 
victims and to drink their blood, when they are 
avenging the death of parents or brothers or chil- 
dren, as they do it to have full vengeance on such as 
have so greatly injured them. 



5JHILE Gonsalo Pacheco had been 
wasting time and men and the good 
name of Europe and Christendom in 
his plunderings between C.Bojadorand 
C. Blanco, the memory of the death 
of Gonsalo de Cintra was kept alive 
in Lagos, and the men of the town came in solemn 
deputation to the Prince, before the summer of this 
same year (1445) was out, to beg him for permission 
to take full, perfect, and sufficient vengeance. In 
other words, they offered to equip the largest fleet 
that had ever sailed on an ocean voyage as it now 
began to be called, a Guinea voyage since the 
Prince began his work. As far as we know, this 
was also one of the greatest armadas that had been 
sent out into the new-discovered or re-discovered 
or undiscovered seas and lands since the European 
nations had begun to look at all beyond their own 
narrow limits. 

Neither the fleet of 1341, which found the 
Canaries, and of which Boccaccio tells us, nor the 
Genoese expedition of 1291, nor the Catalan venture 

144 5] The Armada of 1445* 229 

of 1346, nor De Bethencourt's armament of 1402, for 
the conquest of the Fortunate Isles, was anything 
like this armada of 1445. For this last was a real 
sign of national interest in a work which was not 
only discovery, but profit and a means to more ; it 
proved that in Portugal, in however base and nar- 
rowly selfish a way, there was now a spirit of general 
enterprising activity, and till this had been once 
awakened, there was not much hope of great results 
from the efforts of individuals. 

The first contingent now equipped in Lagos for 
the Prince at once approved of his men's idea num- 
bered fourteen caravels fourteen of the best sailing 
ships afloat, as Cadamosto said a little later ; but this 
was only the central fleet, under Lan^arote as Ad- 
miral. Three more ships came from Madeira, one 
of them under Tristam Vaz, the coloniser of Fun- 
chal ; Diniz Diaz headed another contingent from 
Lisbon ; Zarco, the chief partner in the discovery 
and settlement of Madeira, sent his own caravel in 
command of his nephew ; in all there were seven and 
twenty ships caravels, galleys, and pinnaces. Since 
the Carthaginians sent out their colonists under 
Hanno beyond the Pillars of Hercules, a larger and 
braver fleet had not sailed down that desolate West 
of Africa. 

Gil Eannes, who had rounded Bojador, was there, 
with the Diaz, who had passed the Green Headland 
and come first to the land of the Negroes, and the 
list of captains was made up of the most daring and 
seasoned of Spanish seamen. Scarcely a man who 
had ventured on the ocean voyages of the last thirty 

230 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445 

years was still alive and able-bodied who did not sail 
on the loth August, 1445. 

At the start Cape Blanco was appointed as the 
rendezvous ; with favouring wind and tide the 
ships raced out as far as Arguin. Lawrence, a 
younger brother of the Diaz family, drew ahead, and 
was the first to fall in with Pacheco's three caravels, 
which were slowly crawling home after their losses. 
Now, hearing of the great fleet that was coming 
after to take vengeance, they turned about to wait 
for them, " as it was worth while to have revenge 
though one had to live on short rations/' So, now, 
thirty European ships and their crews were included 
in the fleet. The pioneer, Lawrence Diaz, and the 
rest, lay to at the Isle of Herons in the Bank of 
Arguin ; while waiting there they saw some wonderful 
things in birds, and Azurara tells us what they told 
him, though rather doubtfully. The great beaks of 
the Marabout, or Prophet Bird, struck them most, 
" a cubit long and more, three fingers* breadth across, 
and the bill smooth and polished, like a Bashaw's 
scabbard, and looking as if artificially worked with 
fire and tools/' the mouth and gullet so big that 
the leg of a man of the ordinary size would go into 
it. On these birds particularly, says Azurara, our 
men refreshed themselves during their three days* 

Slowly but surely, two by two, three by three, 
nine caravels mustered at C Blanco, and as the 
flagship of Langarote was among them, an attack 
was made at once with two hundred and seventy- 
eight men picked from among the crews, the foot- 

14-45] The Armada of 1445. 231 

men and lancers in one boat and the archers in 
another, with Langarote himself and the men-at- 
arms behind. They were steered by pilots who had 
been on the coast before and knew it, and it was 
hoped they would come upon the natives of Tider 
Island with the first light of dawn. But the way 
was longer than the pilots reckoned, the night was 
pitchy dark, without moon or stars, the tide was on 
the ebb, and at last the boats were aground. It was 
well on in the morning before they got off on the 
flood and rowed along the coast to find a landing- 
place. The shore was manned with natives, not at 
all taken by surprise, but dancing, yelling, spitting, 
and throwing missiles in insolent defiance. After a 
desperate struggle on the beach, they were put to 
flight with trifling loss eight killed, four taken, 
but when the raiders reached the village, they found 
it empty ; the women and children had been sent 
away, and all their wretched little property had gone 
with them. The same was found true of all the 
villages on that coast ; but in a second battle on the 
next day, fifty-seven Moors were captured, and the 
army went back on shipboard once more. 

And now the fleet divided. Langarote, holding a 
council of his captains, declared the purpose of the 
voyage was accomplished. They had punished the 
natives and taken vengeance for Gonsalo de Cintra 
and the other martyrs ; now it was for each crew and 
captain to settle whether they would go farther. All 
the prisoners having now been divided like prize- 
money between the ships, there was nothing more 
to stay for. 

232 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445 

Five caravels at once returned to Portugal after 
trying to explore the Inlet of the sea at C. Blanco ; 
but they only went up in their boats five leagues, 
and then turned back. One stayed in the Bay of 
Arguin to traffic in slaves, and lost one of the 
most valuable captives by sheer carelessness, a 
woman, badly guarded, slipped out and swam 

But there was a braver spirit in some others of the 
fleet. The captain of the King's caravel, which had 
come from Lisbon in the service of the King's uncle, 
swore he would not turn back. He, Gomes Pires, 
would go on to the Nile ; the Prince had ordered 
him to bring him certain word of it. He would not 
fail him. Langarote for himself said the same, and 
another, one Alvaro de Freitas, capped the offers of 
all the rest. He would go on beyond the Negro- 
Nile to the Earthly Paradise, to the farthest East, 
where the four sacred rivers flowed from the tree of 
life. " Well do you all know how our Lord the 
Infant sets great store by us, that we should make 
him know clearly about the land of the Negroes, and 
especially the River of Nile. It will not be a small 
guerdon that he will give for such service/* 

Six caravels in all formed the main body of the 
Perseverants, and these coasted steadily along till 
they came to Diaz's Cape of Palms, which they knew 
was near the Senegal and the land of the Negroes, 
"and so beautiful did the land now become, and so 
delicious was the scent from the shore, that It was 
as if they were by some gracious fruit garden, or- 
dained to the sole end of their delights. And when 

1445] The Armada of 2445" 2 33 

the men in the caravels saw the first palms and 
towering woodland, they knew right well that they 
were close upon the River of Nile, which the men 
there call the Sanaga." For the Infant had told them 
how little more than twenty leagues beyond the 
sight of those trees they would see the river, as his 
prisoners of the Azanegue tribes had told him. And 
as they looked carefully for the signs of this, they 
saw at last, two leagues from land, " a colour of the 
water that was different from the rest, for that was 
of the colour of mud.'* 

And understanding this to mean that there were 
shoals, they put farther out to sea for safety, when 
one took some of the water in his hand and put it 
to his mouth, and found that it was sweet. And 
crying out to the others, " Of a surety/* said they, 
" we are now at the River of Nile, for the water of 
the river comes with such force into the sea as to 
sweeten it." So they dropped their anchors in the 
river's mouth, and they of the caravel of Vincent 
Diaz (another brother of Diniz and Lawrence) let 
doxvn a boat, into which jumped eight men who 
pulled ashore. 

Here they found some ivory and elephant hide, 
and had a fierce battle with a huge negro whose two 
little naked children they carried off, but though 
the chronicle of the voyages stops here for several 
chapters of rapturous reflection on the greatness of 
the Nile, and the valour and spirit of the Prince who 
had thus found a way to its western mouth, we must 
follow the captains as they coast slowly along to 
Cape Verde, " for that the wind was fair for sail- 

234 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445 

ing." Landing on a couple of uninhabited islands 
off the Cape, they found first of all " fresh goat-skins 
and other things/* and then the arms of the Infant 
and the words of his motto, Talan de bien faire, 
carved upon trees, and they doubted, like Azurara 
when writing down his history from their lips, 
" whether the great power of Alexander or of Caesar 
could have planted traces of itself so far from home," 
as these islands were from Sagres. For though the 
distance looks small enough on a full map of all the 
world, on the chart of the Then Known it was in- 
deed a lengthy stretch some two thousand miles, 
fully as great a distance as the whole range of the 
Mediterranean from the coast of Palestine to the 
Straits of Gibraltar. 

Now by these signs, adds the chronicler, they un- 
derstood right well that other caravels had been there 
already and it was so ; for it was the ship of John 
Gonsalvez Zarco, Captain of Madeira, which had 
passed this way, as they found for a fact on the day 
after. And wishing to land, but finding the number 
of the natives to be such that they could not land by 
day or night, they put on shore a ball and a mirror 
and a paper on which was drawn a cross. 

And when the natives came and found them in 
the morning, they broke the ball and threw away the 
pieces, and with their assegais broke up the mirror 
into little bits, and tore the paper, showing that they 
cared for none of these things. 

Since this is so, said Captain Gomes PIrcs to the 
archers, draw your bows upon these rascals, that they 
may know we are people who can do them a damage. 

1 445] The Armada of 144$. 235 

But the negroes returned the fire with arrows and 
assegais deadly weapons, the arrows unfeathered 
and without a string-notch, but tipped with deadly 
poison of herbs, made of reed or cane or charred 
wood with long iron heads, and the assegais poi- 
soned in like manner and pricked with seven or 
eight harpoons of iron, so that it was no easy matter 
to draw it out of the flesh. 

So they lost heart for going farther, with all the 
coast-land up in arms against them, and turned back 
to Lagos, but before they left the Cape they noticed 
in the desert island^ where they had found the 
Prince's arms, trees so large that they had never seen 
the like, for among them was one which was 108 
palms round at the foot. Yet this tree, the famous 
baobab, was not much higher than a walnut ; " of 
its fibre they make good thread for sewing, which 
burns like flax ; its fruit is like a gourd and its kernels 
like chestnuts." And so, we are told, all the captains 
put back along the coast, in a mind to enter the afore- 
said River of Nile, but one of the caravels getting 
separated from the rest and not liking to enter the 
Senegal alone, went straight to Lagos, and another 
put back to water in the Bay of Arguin and the 
Rio d'Ouro estuary, where there came to them 
at once the Moors on board the caravel, full of 
confidence because they had never had any dealings 
before with the merchants of Spain, and sold them 
a negro for five doubloons, and gave them meat 
and water from their camels, and came in and out 
on board the ship, so that there was great fear of 
treachery, but at last without any quarrel they 

236 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445 

were all put on shore, under promise that next 
July their friends would come again and trade 
with them in slaves and gold to their hearts* con- 
tent. And so, taking in a good cargo of seal-skins, 
they made their way straight home. 

Meantime two of the other caravels and a pin- 
nace, which had been separated early in the voyage 
from the main body, under the pilotage of the 
veteran Diniz Diaz, had also made their way to C. 
Verde, had fought with the natives in some des- 
perate skirmishes one knight had his " shield stuck 
as full with arrows as the porcupine with quills/' 
and had turned back in the face of the same dis- 
couragements as the rest ; and so would have ended 
the whole of this great enterprise but for the daunt- 
less energy of one captain and his crew. 

Zarco of Madeira had given his caravel to his 
nephew with a special charge that, come what might, 
he was not to think of profit and trading, but of do- 
ing the will of the Prince his lord. He was not 
to land in the fatal Bay of Arguin, which had been 
the end of so many enterprises ; he was to go as 
Diniz Diaz had first gone, straight to the land of the 
Negroes, and pass beyond the farthest of earlier 
sailors. Now the caravel, says Azurara proudly, was 
well equipped and was manned by a crew that was 
ready to bear hardship, and the captain was full of 
energy and zeal, and so they went on steadily, sailing 
through the great Sea of Ocean till they came to the 
River of Nile, where they filled two pipes with water, 
of which they took back one to the city of Lisbon, 
And not even Alexander, though he was one of the 

1445] The Armada of 1445. 237 

monarchs of the world, ever drank of water that had 
been brought from so far as this. 

" But now, still going on, they passed C. Verde 
and landed upon the islands I have spoken of, to 
see if there were any people there, but they found 
only some tame goats without any one to tend 
them ; and it was there that they made the signs 
that the others found on coming after, the arms 
of the Infant with his device and motto. And then 
drawing in close to the Cape, they waited to see if 
any canoes would come off to them, and anchored 
about a mile off the shore. But they had not waited 
long before two boats, with ten negroes in them, 
put off from the beach and made straight for the 
caravel, like men who came in peace and friendship. 
And being near, they began to make signs as if for 
a safe-conduct, which were answered in like manner, 
and then at once, without any other precaution, five 
of them came on board the caravel, where the cap- 
tain made them all the entertainment that he could, 
bidding them eat and drink, and so they went away 
with signs of great contentment, but it appeared 
after, that in their hearts they meditated treachery. 
For as soon as they got to land they talked with the 
other natives on shore, and thinking that they could 
easily take the ship, with this intent there now set 
out six boats, with five and thirty or forty men, 
arrayed as those who come to fight, but when they 
came close they were afraid and stayed a little way 
off, without daring to make any attack. And seeing 
this, our men launched a boat on the other side of 
the caravel, where they could not be seen by the 

238 Prince Henry the Navigator. 0445 

enemy, and manned it with eight rowers, who were 
to wait till the canoes came nearer to the ship. At 
last the negroes were tired of waiting and watching, 
and one of their canoes came up closer, in which 
were five strong warriors, and at once our boat rowed 
round the caravel and cut them off. And because 
of the great advantage that we had in our style of 
rowing, in a trice our men were upon them, and 
they having no hope of defence, threw themselves 
into the water, and the other boats made off for the 
shore. And our men had the greatest trouble in 
catching those that were swimming away, for they 
dived not a whit worse than cormorants, so that we 
could scarcely catch hold of them. One was taken, 
not very easily, on the spot, and another, who fought 
as desperately as two men, was wounded, and with 
these two the boat returned to the caravel, 

" And for that they saw that it would not profit 
them to stay longer in that place, they resolved to 
see if they could find any new lands of which they 
might bring news to the Infant their lord. And so, 
sailing on again, they came to a cape, where they 
saw * groves of palm trees dry and without branches, 
which they called the Cape of Masts.' " Here, a lit- 
tle farther along the coast, a reconnoitring party of 
seven landed and found four negro hunters sitting 
on the beach, armed with bows and arrows, who fled 
on seeing the strangers. " And as they were naked 
and their hair cut very short, they could not catch 
them," and only brought away their arrows for a 

This Cape of Masts, or some point of the coast a 

1445] The Armada of 1445* 2 39 

little to the south-east, was the farthest now reached 
by Zarco's caravel. " From here they put back and 
sailed direct to Madeira, and thence to the city of 
Lisbon, where the Infant received them with reward 
enough. For this caravel, of all those who had 
sailed at this time (1445), had done most and reached 

There was one contingent of the great armada yet 
unaccounted for, but they were sad defaulters. 
Three of the ships on the outward voyage which had 
separated from the main body and Lancarote's flag- 
ship, had the cowardice or laziness to give up the 
purpose of the voyage altogether; " they agreed to 
make a descent on the Canary Islands instead of 
going to Guinea at all that year." 

Here they stayed some time, raiding and slave- 
hunting, but also making observations on the natives 
and the different natural features of the different 
islands, which, as we have them in the old chronicle, 
are not the least interesting part of the story of the 
Lagos Armada of 1445.* 

* The date of this voyage is brought down as late as 1447 by 
Santarem and Oliveiro Martins. 


VOYAGES OF , 1446-8. 

|ND yet, but for the enterprise of Zarco's 
crew, this expedition of 1445 that be- 
gan with so much promise, and on 
which so much time and trouble had 
been spent, was almost fruitless of 

" novelties," of discoveries, of the 

main end and object of all the Prince's voyages. 

The next attempt, made by Nuno Tristam in 
1446, ended in the most disastrous finish that had 
yet befallen the Christian seamen of Spain. Nuno, 
who had been brought up from boyhood at the 
Prince's court, " seeing how earnest he was that his 
caravels should explore the land of the Negroes, and 
knowing how some had already passed the River of 
Nile, thought that if he should not do something of 
right good service to the Infant in that land, he 
could in no wise gain the name of a brave knight. 

" So he armed a caravel and began sail, not stop- 
ping anywhere that he might come straight to the 
Black Man's land. And passing by Cape Verde he 
sailed on sixty leagues and found a river, where he 
judged there ought to be some people living. So he 


Voyages of 1446-8. 24 1 

bade them lower two small boats and put ten men 
in the one and twelve in the other, which pulled 
straight towards some huts they sighted ahead of 
them. But before they could jump on shore, twelve 
canoes came out on the other side, and seventy or 
eighty Blackmoors in them, with bows in their 
hands, who began to shoot at our people/' As the 
tide rose, one of the Guinea boats passed them and 
landed its crew, " so that our men were between a 
fire from the land and a fire from the boats/' They 
pulled back as hard as they could, but before they 
could get on board, four of them were lying dead. 

" And so they began to make sail home again, 
leaving the boats in that they were not able to take 
charge of them. For of the twenty-two who went to 
land in them there did not escape more than two ; 
nineteen were killed, for so deadly was the poison 
that with a tiny wound, a mere scratch that drew 
blood, it could bring a man to his last end. But 
above and beyond these was killed our noble knight, 
Nuno Tristam, earnestly desiring life, that he might 
die not a shameful death like this, but as a brave man 
should." Of seven who had been left in the caravel, 
two had been struck by the poisoned arrows as 
they tried to raise the anchors, and were long in 
danger of death, lying a good twenty days at the 
last gasp, without the power to raise a finger to 
help the others who were trying to get the caravel 
home, so that only five were left to work the ship. 

Nuno's men were saved by the energy and skill of 
one a mere boy, a page of the Infant's House 
who took charge of the ship, and steered its course 

242 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

due north, then north by east, so that in two months' 
time they were off the coast of Portugal. But 
they were absolutely helpless and hopeless, knowing 
nothing of their whereabouts, for in all those two 
months they had had no glimpse of land, so that 
when at last they caught sight of an armed fusta, 
they were " much troubled," supposing it to be a 
Moorish cruiser. When it came near and shewed 
itself to be a Gallician pirate, the poor fellows were 
almost wild with delight, still more when they found 
they were not far from Lagos. They had had a 
terrible time; first they were almost poisoned by 
the dead bodies of Nuno Tristam and the victims 
of the savages' poisoned arrows ; then, when at 
last they had " thrown their honour to the winds 
and those bodies to the fishes," shamefaced and 
utterly broken in spirit, the five wretchedly ig- 
norant seamen, who were now left alone, drifted, 
with the boundless and terrible ocean on on^side, 
and the still more dangerous and unknown coast of 
Africa on the other, for sixty days, A common 
sailor, " little enough skilled in the art of sailing" ; a 
groom of the Prince's chamber, the young hero who 
saved the ship ; a negro boy, who was taken with 
the first captives from Guinea ; and two other " little 
lads small enough," this was the crew. As for the 
rest, Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur, 
Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, cries the 
chronicler in that outburst of bewildered grief with 
which he ends his story. There were widows and 
orphans left for the Prince to care for, and " of these 
he took especial charge." 

1448] Voyages of 1446-8. 243 

But all people were not so unlucky as Nuno 
Tristam. The caravel of Zarco of Madeira, which 
under Zarco's nephew, Alvaro Fernandez, had 
already passed beyond every other in the year of 
the great armada, 1445, was sent back again on its 
errand " of doing service in the unknown lands of 
Guinea to the Lord Don Henry/' in the black year, 
1446. Its noble and valiant owner now " charged the 
aforesaid " Alvaro Fernandez, with the ship well 
armed, to go as far as he could, and to try and make 
some booty, that should be so new and so splendid 
that it would be a sign of his good-will to serve the 
Lord who had made him. So they sailed on straight 
to Cape Verde, and beyond that to the Cape of 
Masts (or Spindle Palms), their farthest of the year 
before, but they did not turn back here, in spite of 
unfriendly natives and unknown shores. Still coast- 
ing along, they found tracks of men, and a little 
farther on a village, " where the people came out as 
men who shewed that they meant to defend their 
homes ; in front of them was a champion, with a 
good target on his arm and an assegai in his hand. 
This fellow our captain rushed upon, and with a blow 
of his lance struck him dead upon the ground. Then, 
running up, he seized his sword and spear, and kept 
them as trophies to be offered to the Lord Infant/' 
The negroes fled, and the conquerors turned back to 
their ship and sailed on. Next day they came to a 
land where they saw certain of the women of those 
negroes, and seized one who was of age about thirty, 
with her child a baby of two, and another, a young 
girl of fourteen, " the which had a good enough pres- 

244 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1446- 

ence and beauty for that country " ; but the strength 
of the woman was so wonderful, that she gave the 
three men who held her trouble enough to lift her 
into the boat. And seeing how they were kept 
struggling on the beach, they feared that some of 
the people of the country might come down upon 
them. So one of them put the child into the boat, 
and love of it forced the mother to go likewise, with- 
out much more pushing. 

Thence they went on, pursues the story, till they 
came to a river, into which they made an entrance 
with a boat, and carried off a woman that they 
found in a house. But going up the river some- 
what farther, with a mind to make some good 
booty, there came out upon them four or five 
canoes full of negroes, armed as men who would 
fight for their country, whose encounter our men 
in the boat did not wish to await in face of the 
advantage of the enemy, and fearing above all the 
great peril of poisoned arrows. So they began to 
pull down stream as hard as they could towards the 
caravel ; but as one of the canoes distanced the 
others and came up close to them, they turned upon 
it and in the fight one of the negroes shot a dart, 
that wounded the captain, Alvaro Fernandez, in the 
foot. But he, as he had been already warned of the 
poison, drew out the arrow very quickly and bathed 
it with acid and oil, and then anointed it well with 
theriack, and it pleased God that he passed safely 
through a great trouble, though for some clays he lay 
on the point of death. And so they got back to the 

1448] Voyages of 1446-8. 245 

But though the captain was so badly wounded, 
the crew did not stop in following the coast and went 
on (all this was over quite new ground) till they 
came to a certain sand-spit, directly In front of a 
great bay. Here they launched a boat, and rowed 
out to see the land they had come to, and at once 
there came out against them full 120 negroes, 
some with bows, others with shields and assegais, 
and when they reached the edge of the sea, they 
began to play and dance about, " like men clean 
wearied of all sadness, but our men in the boat 
wishing to be excused from sharing in that festival 
of theirs, turned and rowed back to the ship." 

Now all this was a good 1 10 leagues, 320 miles be- 
yond Cape Verde, " mostly to the south of the afore- 
said cape " (that is, about the place of Sierra Leone on 
our maps), and this caravel remained a longer time 
abroad and went farther than any other ship of that 
year, and but for the sickness of the wounded cap- 
tain they would not have stopped there. But as it 
was they came straight back to the Bank of Arguin, 
" where they met that chief Ahude Meyrnam, of 
whom we have spoken before," in the story of Joan 
Fernandez. And though they had no interpreter, 
by whom they might do their business, by signs 
they managed so that they were able to buy a 
negress, in exchange for certain cloths that they 
had with them. And so they came safe home. 
There was not much trouble now in getting volun- 
teers for the work of discovery, and a reward 
of 200 doubloons 100 from Prince Henry, 100 
more from the Regent Don Pedro to the last bold 

246 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445 

explorers who had got fairly round Senegambia, 
added zest to enterprise. 

In this same year 1446-7, no fewer than nine cara- 
vels sailed to Guinea from Portugal in another 
armada, on the track of Zarco's successful crew. At 
Madeira they were joined by two more, and the 
whole fleet sailed through the Canary island group 
to Cape Verde. Eight of them passed sixty 
leagues, 180 miles, beyond, and found a river, 
the Rio Grande, " of good size enough," up 
which they sailed, except one ship, belonging to a 
Bishop the Bishop of Algarve " for that this hap- 
pened to run upon a sand-bank, in such wise, that 
they were not able to get her off, though all the peo- 
ple on board were saved with the cargo. And while 
some of them were busy in this, others landed and 
found the country just deserted by its inhabitants, 
and going on to find them, they soon perceived that 
they had found a track, which they had chanced on 
near the place where they landed." 

They followed this track recklessly enough, and 
nearly met the fate of Nuno Tristam. " For as they 
went on by that road, they came to a country with 
great sown fields, with plantations of cotton trees 
and rice plots, in a land full of hills like loaves, after 
which they came to a great wood," and as they were 
going into the wood, the " Guineas " came out upon 
them in great numbers, with bows and assegais and 
saluted them with a shower of poisoned arrows. The 
first five Europeans fell dead at once, two others 
were desperately wounded, the rest escaped to the 
ships, and the ships went no farther that year. 

1448] Voyages of 1446"$ * 2 47 

Still worse was the fate of Vallarte's venture in the 
early months of 1448. Vallarte was a nobleman of 
the Court of King Christopher of Denmark, who 
had been drawn to the Court of Henry at Sagres by 
the growing fame of the Prince's explorations, and 
who came forward with the stock request, " Give me 
a caravel to go to the land of the negroes." 

A little beyond Cape Verde, Vallarte went on 
shore with a boat's crew and fell into the trap which 
had caught the exploring party of the year before. 
He and his men were surrounded by negroes and 
were shot down or captured to a man. But one 
escaped, swimming to the ship, and told how as he 
looked back over his shoulder to the shore, again and 
again, he saw Vallarte sitting a prisoner in the stern 
of the boat. 

u And when the chronicle of these voyages was in 
writing at the end of the self-same year, there were 
brought certain prisoners from Guinea to Prince 
Henry, who told him that in a city of the upland, in 
the heart of Africa, there were four Christian prison- 
ers." One had died, three were living, and in these 
four, men in Europe believed they had news of Val- 
larte and his men. 

But between the last voyage of Zarco's caravel in 
1446 and the first voyage of Cadamosto in 1455, 
there is no real advance in exploration. 

The "third armada," as it was called, that is the 
fleet of the nine caravels of 1446-7, the voyage of 
Gomes Fires to the Rio d'Ouro at the same time, 
the trading ventures of the Morocco coast which 
were the means of bringing the first lion to Portugal 

248 Prince Henry the Navigator. [ma- 

in 1447, the expeditions to the Rio d'Ouro and 
to Arguin in the course of the same year, are not 
part of the story of discovery, but of trade. There 
is hardly a suspicion of exploring interest about most 
of them. Even Vallarte's venture in 1448 has 
nothing of the novelty which so many went out 
to find "for the satisfaction of the Lord Henry." 
Guinea voyages are frequent, almost constant, during 
these years, and this frequency has at any rate the 
point of making Europeans thoroughly familiar with 
the coast already explored, if it did little or nothing 
to bring in new knowledge. 

But the value and meaning of Henry 's life and 
work was not after all in commerce, except in a 
secondary sense ; and these voyages of purely trading 
interest, with no design or at any rate no result of 
discovery, do not belong to our subject. Each one 
of them has its own picturesque beauty in the pages 
of the old chronicle of the Conquest of Guinea, but- 
measured by its importance to the general story of 
the expansion of Europe, there is no lasting value in 
any one of the last chapters of Azurara's voyages, 
his description of the Canaries, and of the " Inferno " 
of Teneriffe, " of how Madeira was peopled, and the 
other Islands that are in that part, of how the caravel 
of Alvaro Dornellas took certain of the Canarians, of 
how Gomes Fires went to the Rio d'Ouro and of 
the Moors that he took, of the caravel that went to 
Mega (in Marocco) and of the Moors that were 
taken, of how An tarn Gonsalvez received the island 
of Langarote in the name of the Prince." 

Only the chronicler's summary of results, up to the 


Voyages of 1446-8. 249 

year 1446, the year of Nuno Tristam's failure, is of 
wider interest. "Till then there had been fifty-one 
caravels to those parts, which had gone 450 leagues 
(1350 miles) beyond the Cape (Boyador). And as 
it was found that the coast ran southward with many 
points, the Prince ordered these to be added to the 
sailing chart. And here it is to be noted, that what 
was clearly known before of the coast of the great 
sea was 200 leagues (600 miles), which have been 
increased by these 450. Also what had been laid 
down upon the Mappa Mundi was not true but was 
by guess work, but now 't is all from the survey by 
the eyes of our seamen. And now seeing that in 
this history we have given account sufficient of the 
first four reasons which brought our noble Prince to 
his attempt, it is time we said something of the ac- 
complishment of his fifth object, the conversion of 
the Heathen, by the bringing of a number of infidel 
souls from their lands to this, the which by count 
were nine hundred and twenty-seven, of whom the 
greater part were turned into the true way of salva- 
tion. And what capture of town or city could be 
more glorious than this/ 1 



jE have now come very nearly to the 
end of the voyages that are described 
in the old Chronicle of tlie Discovery 
and Conquest of Guinea, and setting 
aside the story of the famous Venetian 
Cadamosto, this is also the end of 
the African mainland-coasting of Henry's seamen. 
Though he did not die till 1460, and we have now 
only reached the year 1448, for Azurara's solemn 
catalogue of negroes brought to Europe is reckoned 
only up to 1446 " nine hundred and twenty-seven 
who had been turned into the true path of salva- 
tion/* yet there is no more exploration in the 
last ten years of Henry's life worth noting, except 
what falls into this and two of the following chapters. 
Tlie first of these is Cadamosto's own record of 
his two voyages along the Guinea coast, in which he 
is supposed to have reached Cape Palmar, some five 
hundred miles beyond Cape Verde, and certainly 
reached the Gambia, whose great mouth, " like an 
arm of the sea/* is well described in his journal. 

143M460] The Finding of the Azores. 251 

The second is the " true account of the finding of 
the Cape Verde islands by Diego Gomez, servant of 
Don Henry/' who writes the story of the Prince's 
death and was as faithful a servant as he had at his 
Court. But there is one other chapter of the ex- 
ploration directed from Sagres and described by 
Azurara, which must find its place, and is best spoken 
of here and now, in the interval between the two 
most active periods of African coasting voyages. 
This Is the story of the colonisation of the Azores, 
of the Western or Hawk islands, known to map- 
makers at least as early as 1351, for they figure 
clearly enough on the great Florentine chart of that 
year, though not reclaimed for Europe and Christen- 
dom till somewhere about 1430. These islands were 
found, says a legend, on the Catalan map of 1439, 
by Diego cle Sevill, pilot of the King of Portugal, in 
1427. But these islands were after all only two 
groups of the Archipelago, and the rediscovery or 
finding of the rest fell between the years 1432 and 


The voyage of Diego de Sevill and Gonzalo Velho 
Cabral to the Azores, that is to the island of St. Mary 
and the Formigas, has been alluded to as among the 
earliest of Prince Henry's successes. But as it was 
out of this first attempt that the discovery of the 
whole group resulted, it has been necessary to refer 
to it again. Cabral, rewarded by his lord with the 
gift of his discoveries and living in St. Mary's island 
as "Captain Donatory" or Lord of the Land, was 
in charge of the colonisation of the islands he had 
already found, and of as many others as might come 

252 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

to light He spent three years (1433-6) collecting 
men and means in Portugal and then settled in the 
" Western Isles " with some of the best families of 
his country. 

With this, discovery seemed to have come to a 
standstill, but years after, somewhere about 1440-1, 
an odd chance started exploration westward once 
more. There was a hunt after a runaway slave, a 
negro, of course, from the continent, who had escaped 
to the top of the highest mountain in St. Mary. The 
weather was of the clearest, and he fancied that lie 
saw far off on the horizon the outline of an unknown 
land. Was it another island ? He knew his masters 
were there as explorers quite as much as colonis- 
ers, and he must often have heard their talk about 
the finding of new lands, and the will of their Lord 
the Prince that those new lands should at all costs 
be found, was no secret. That will had sent them 
there ; that same will would secure their slave's par- 
don, if he came back from hiding with the news of a 
real, discovery. 

So he reasoned to himself ; and he was right. The 
Prince, hearing the news, instantly consulted his 
ancient maps and found that these hinted at lands 
in the same direction as the slave had pointed out. 
He ordered Cabral to start at once in search of them. 
Cabral tried and missed. Then came a wonderful 
test of Henry's knowledge ; he who had never been 
within a thousand miles of the place, proved to his 
captain that he had passed between St. Mary and the 
unknown land, and correcting his course sent him 
out again, to seek and to find. 

14603 Settlement of the Azores. 253 

On the 8th of May, 1444, the new island was found 
" on the day of the apparition of St. Michael," and 
named after the festival. It is our modern " St. 
Michael of the Oranges." 

As with the other islands so with this, colonisa- 
tion followed discovery. On the 2Qth of September, 
1445, Cabral returned with Europeans, having before 
left only a few Moors to open up the country. 
Now on his return he found these wretched men 
frightened almost to death by the earthquakes that 
had kept them trembling since they first landed. 
"And if they had been able to get a boat, even the 
lightest, they would certainly have escaped in it." 
Cabral's pilot also, who had been with him before to 
that same island, declared that of the two great 
mountain peaks which he had noticed at the two 
ends of the island, east and west, only the Eastern 
was now standing. The slang name of " Azores " or 
" Hawks " now began to take the place of the old 
term of " Western " islands, from the swarms of 
hawks or kites that were found in the new discovered 
St. Michael, and in the others which came to light 
soon after. For the Third Group, " Terceira," was 
sighted between 1444-50, and added to the Portugal 
that was thus creeping slowly out towards the 
unknown West, as if in anticipation of Columbus, 
throwing its outposts farther and farther into the 
ocean, as its pioneers grew more and more sure of 
their ground outside the Straits of Gibraltar. Some 
seamen of Prince Henry's, returning from " Guinea" 
to Spain, some adventurer trying to " win fame for 
himself with the Lord Infant," some merchants 

254 Prince Henry the Navigator. 11431- 

sent out to try their luck on the western side as 
so many had tried on the southern, some African 
coasters driven out of sight of land by contrary 
winds ; it may have been any of these, It must 
have been some one of them, who found the rest 
of the Azores, Terceira or the island of Jesus, St. 
George, Graciosa, Fayal, Flores, and Corvo. 

Who were the discoverers is absolutely unknown. 
At this day we have only a few traces of the first 
colonisation, but of two things we may be pretty 
certain. First, that the Azores were all found and 
colonised in Henry's lifetime, and for the most 
part between 1430 and 1450. Second, that no 
definite purpose was formed of pushing discovery 
beyond this group across the waste of waters to 
the west, and so of finding India from the "left" 
hand. Henry and all his school were quite satis- 
fied, quite committed, to the south-east route. By 
coasting round the continent, not by venturing 
across the ocean, they hoped and meant to find their 
way to Malabar and Cathay. As to the settlement 
of these islands, a copy is still left of Henry's grant 
of the Captaincy of Terceira to the Fleming Jacques 
clc Bruges. 

The facts of the case were these. Jacques came 
to the Prince one clay with a little request about the 
Hawk islands that "within the memory of man the 
aforesaid islands had been under the aggressive lord- 
ship of none other than the Prince, and as the third 
of these islands called the island of Christ, was 
lying waste, he the said Jacques tie Bruges begged 
tliat he might colonise the same. Which was granted 

1460] Settlement of the Azores. 255 

to him with the succession to his daughters, as he 
had no heirs male." 

For Jacques was a rich Fleming, who had come 
into the Prince's service, it would seem, with the 
introduction of the Duchess of Burgundy, Don 
Henry's niece. Since then he had married into a 
noble house of Portugal, and now he was offering to 
take upon himself all the charges of his venture. 
Such a man was not lightly to be passed over. His 
design was encouraged, and more than this his ex- 
ample was followed. An hidalgo named Sodre 
Vincent Gil Sodr6 took his family and adherents 
across to Terceira, the island of Jesu Christ, and 
from thence went on and settled in Graciosa, while 
another Fleming, Van der Haager, joining Van der 
Berge or De Bruges in Terceira with two ships " fitted 
out at his own cost and filled with his own people 
and artisans, whom he had brought to work as in a 
new land," tried though unsuccessfully to colonise 
the island of St. George. 

The first Captain Donatory of Fayal was another 
Fleming Job van Hcurter, Lord of Mocrkcrke 
and there is a special interest in his name. For it is 
through him that we get in 1492 the long and inter- 
esting notice of the first settlement of the Azores on 
the globe of Martin Behaim, now at Nuremberg, the 
globe which was made to play such \i curious part, 
as undesigned as it was ungenerous, in the Columbus 

" These islands," says the tablet attached to them 
on the map, " these Hawk islands, were colonised 
in 1466, when they were given by the King of Per- 

Prince Henry the Navigator. [143H460 

tugal to his sister Isabel, Duchess of Burgundy, who 
sent out many people of all classes, with priests and 
everything necessary for the maintenance of religion. 
So that in 1490 there were there some thousands of 
souls, who had come out with the noble knight, Job 
de Heurter, my dear father-in-law, to whom the 
islands were given in perpetuity by the Duchess. 

"Now in 1431, Prince Henry provisioned two 
ships for two years and sent them to the lands be- 
yond Cape Finistcrre, and they, sailing due west for 
some five hundred leagues, found these islands, ten 
in number, all desert without quadrupeds or men, 
only tenanted by birds, and these so tame that they 
could be caught by the hand. So they called these 
* the Islands of the Hawks ' (Azores). 

"And next year (1432), by the King's orders, six- 
teen vessels were sent out from Portugal with all 
kinds of tame animals, that they might breed there." 

Of the first settlement of Flores and Corvo, the 
two remaining islands of the group, still less is 
known, but in any case/it seems not to have been 
fully carried out till the last years of the Prince's life, 
possibly it was the work of his successor in the 
Grand Mastership of the Order of Christ, which now 
took up a sort of charge to colonise outlying and 
new discovered lands. For among the Prince's last 
acts was his bequest of the islands, which had been 
granted to himself by his brother, King Edward, in 
1433, to Prince Ferdinand, his nephew, whom he had 
adopted with a view of making him his successor in 
aims as well as in office, in leading the progress of dis- 
covery as well as in the headship of the Order of Christ. 




ON PEDRO had been nominated sole 
Regent of Portugal on November I, 
1439, an d by the end of the next year 
all the unsettlement consequent on 
the change at court seemed to be 
at an end. But a deep hatred con- 
tinued between the various parties. 

First of all, the Count of Barcellos, natural son of 
John I., created Duke of Braganza by Affonso V., 
had taken up a definite policy of supplanting the Re- 
gent. The Queen Mother had not forgotten or for- 
given Don Pedro's action at Edward's death, and the 
young King himself, though engaged to the Regent's 
daughter, was already distrustful, was fitting himself 
to lead the Barcellos party against the Prince. 

On February 18, 1445, died the Queen Leonor, 
with suspicions of poison, diligently fostered by the 
malcontents. Next year (1446) Affonso, now four- 
teen, came of age, and his uncle proposed at once to 
resign all actual power and retire to his estates as 
17 57 

258 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1440* 

Duke of Coimbra. But the King was either not yet 
prepared to part with him, or still felt some gratitude 
to his guardian, " the wisest head in Spain. " 

He begged him to keep the chief direction of af- 
fairs, thanked him for the past, and promised to help 
him in the future. More than this, he protested that 
he wished to be married to his cousin, Pedro's 
daughter Isabel. They had been formally betrothed 
four years ; now Affonso called on his nobles and the 
deputies of Cort6s to witness the marriage. 

In May, 1447, this royal wedding was celebrated, 
but coldly and poorly, as nephew and uncle had now 
drifted quite apart. The more the younger disliked 
and suspected the elder, the more vehement became 
his protestations of regard. But he bitterly resented 
the Duke's action in holding him to his promise, and 
he made up his mind before the marriage that he 
would henceforth govern as well as reign. 

The Regent just prevented his dismissal by laying 
down his offices ; the King seemed almost to relent 
in parting from his guardian, who had kept the king- 
dom in such perfect peace and now resigned so well dis- 
charged a duty ; but even his wife could not prevent 
the corning storm. She struggled hard to reconcile 
her father and her husband, but the mischief-makers 
were too hard for her. Persuaded that the Duke was 
a traitor, the King allowed himself to be used to 
goad him into revolt. " Your father wishes to be 
punished," he said fiercely to the Queen, " and he 
shall be punished." 

If Henry, who in the last six years had only once 
left Sagres, to knight Don Pedro's eldest son at Co- 


1449] Fall of Don Pedro. 259 

imbra in 1445, had now been able, in presence as well 
as writing, to stand by his brother in this crisis, the 
Regent might have been saved. As it was, Pedro had 
hardly settled down in his exile at Coimbra, when 
he found himself charged with the secret murders 
of King Edward, Queen Leonor, and Prince John. 
The more monstrous the slander, the more absurd 
and self-contradictory it might be, the more eagerly 
it was made. 

Persecution as petty and grinding as that which 
hunted Wolsey to death, at last drove Pedro to take 
arms. His son, knighted by Henry himself for the 
high place of Constable of the Realm, had been 
forced into flight, the arms of Coimbra Arsenal 
seized for the King's use, his letters to his nephew 
opened and answered, it was said by his enemies, 
who wrote back in the sovereign's name, as he would 
write to an open rebel. All this the Prince bore, but 
when he heard that his bastard brother of Braganza, 
who had betrayed and maligned and ruined him, was 
on the march to plunder his estates, like an outlaw's, 
he collected a few troops and barred his way. At 
this Affonso was persuaded to declare war. 

Only one great noble stood by the fallen Regent, 
but this was his friend Almada, the Spanish Her- 
cules, his sworn brother in arms and in travels, one 
of the Heroes of Christendom, who had been 
made a Count in France and a Knight of the 
Garter in England. It was he who now escaped 
from honourable imprisonment at Cintra, joined 
Pedro iu Coimbra, and proposed to him that they 
should go together to Court and demand justice 

260 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1440-144.$ 

and a fair trial, but sword in hand and with their 
men at their back. Was it not better to die as 
soldiers than as traitors without a hearing ? 

So on May 5, 1449, the Duke left Coimbra with his 
little army of vassals, 1000 horse and 5000 foot and 
passed by Batalha, where he stopped to revisit the 
great church and the tombs of his father and his 
brothers. Thence he marched straight on Lisbon, 
which the King covered from Santarcm with 30,000 
men. At the rivulet of Alfarrobeira the armies 
met ; a lance thrust or a cross-bow shot killed the 
Infant ; a common soldier cut off his head and car- 
ried it to Affonso in the hope of knighthood. 
Almada, who fought till he could not stand from 
loss of blood, died with his friend. Hurling his 
sword from him, he threw himself on the ground, 
with a scornful, " Take your fill of me, Varlets," 
and was cut to pieces. 

Though at first leave could hardly be got to bury 
Don Pedro's body, as time went on his name was 
cleared. His daughter bore a son to the King, and 
the proofs of his loyalty, the indignant warnings of 
foreign Courts, the entreaties of the Queen, at last 
brought Affonso to something like repentance and 
amendment. He buried the Regent at Batalha and 
pardoned his friends, those who were left from the 
butchery of Alfarrobeira. 



145 5-6. 

E have now come to the voyages of the 
Venetian Cadamosto, in the service 
of Prince Henry. And though these 
were far from being the most striking 
in their general effect, they are cer- 
tainly the most famous, the best 
known, of all the enterprises of these fifty years 
(1415-1460). It is true that Cadamosto fairly 
reached Sierra Leone and, passing the farthest 
mark of the earlier Portuguese caravels, coasted 
along many miles of that great eastern bend of the 
West African coast which we call the Gulf of 
Guinea. But it is to his general fame as a seaman, 
his position in Italy, and the interest he aroused by 
his written and published story that he owed his 
greater share of attention. 

When I first set my mind, begins his narrative, 
on sailing the ocean between the Strait of Cadiz, 
and the Fortunate Islands, the one man who had 
tried to enter the aforesaid ocean, since the days of 
our Father Adam, was the Infant Don Henry of 


262 Prince Henry the Navigator. 11445. 

Portugal, whose illustrious and almost countless 
deeds I pass over, excepting only his zeal for the 
Christian faith and his freedom from the bonds of 
matrimony. For his father, King John, had not 
given up the ghost before he had warned his son 
Henry with saving precepts, that the aforesaid 
Holy Faith he should foster with a dauntless mind 
and not fail in his vows of warring down the foes 
of Christ. 

Therefore every year did Don Henry, as it were, 
challenging and hurling defiance at the Moors, per- 
sist in sending out his caravels as far as the head- 
land called the Cape of Non (Not), from the belief 
that beyond the said Cape there is "No" return 
possible. And as for a long time the ships of the 
Prince did not dare to pass that point, Henry roused 
himself to accomplish this feat, seeing that his cara- 
vels did much excel all other sailing ships afloat, and 
strictly enjoined his captains not to return before 
they had passed the said Cape. Who steadily 
pressing on, and never leaving sight of the shore, 
did in truth pass near one hundred miles beyond, 
finding nothing but desert land. 

Beyond this again, for the space of one hundred 
and fifty miles, the Prince then sent another fleet, 
which fared no better, and finding no trace of men 
or of tillage, returned home. And Don Henry, 
growing ever keener for discovery, and excited by 
the opposition as it were of nature, sent out again 
and again till his sailors had reached beyond the 
Desert Coast to the land of the Arabs and of those 
new races called Azaneguys, people of a tawny colour- 

1446] Cadamosto s Earlier Voyage. 263 

And finally there appeared to these bold mariners 
the land of ^Ethiopia, which lies upon the shore of 
the Southern ocean, and here again from day to day 
the explorers discovered new races and new lands. 

" Now I, Luigi Ca da Mosto, who had sailed 
nearly all the Mediterranean coasts, once leaving 
Venice for * Celtogallia ' (France), but being caught 
by a storm off C. St. Vincent, had to take refuge in 
the Prince's town, near the said Cape, and was here 
told of the glorious and boundless conquests of the 
Prince, whence accrued such gain that from no 
traffic in the world could the like be had. 

"The which/* continues the candid trader, "did 
exceedingly stir my soul, eager as it was for gain 
above all things else ; and so I made suit to be 
brought before the Prince, if so be that I might gain 
leave to sail In his service, for since the profit of this 
voyage is subject to his pleasure, he doth guard his 
monopoly with no small care.'* 

With the Prince, at last, Cadamosto made terms : 
either that he, the adventurer, should furnish the 
ships at his own cost, and take the whole risk upon 
himself, and of the merchandise that he might gain 
a fourth part to go to his lord ; or that the Prince 
should bear the cost of equipment and should have 
half the profits. But in any case, if there was no 
profit, the whole expense should fall upon the trader. 
The Prince added that he would heartily welcome 
any other volunteers from Venice, and on Cadamosto 
himself he urged an immediate start. " As for me," 
repeats the sailor, "my age, my vigour, my skill 
equal to any toil, above all my passionate desire to 

264 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

see the world and explore the unknown, set me all 
on fire with eagerness. And especially the fact that 
no countryman of mine had ever tried the like, and 
my certainty of winning the highest honour and gain 
from such a venture, made me forward to offer my- 
self. I only stayed to enquire from veteran Portu- 
guese what merchandise was the most highly prized 
among the ^Ethiopians and people of the furthest 
South, and then went home to find the best light 
craft for the ocean coasting that I had in mind." 
Meantime the Prince ordered a caravel to be 
equipped, which he gave to one Vincent, a native of 
Lagos, as captain, and caused to be armed to the 
teeth, as was required, and on the 2ist of March, 
1455, Cadamosto sailed for Madeira, On the 25th 
they were off Porto Santo, and the Venetian stops 
to give us a description of the island, which, he says 
in passing, had been found and colonised by the 
Prince's seamen twenty-seven years before. It was 
worth the settling. Every kind of grain and fruit 
was easily raised, and there was a great trade in 
dragon's blood, " which is made from the tears of a 

On March s/th, Cadamosto sailed from Porto 
Santo to Madeira, forty miles distant, and easily 
seen from the first island when the weather was 
cloudy, and here the narrative stops some time to 
describe and admire sufficiently. Madeira had been 
colonised under the lead and action of the Prince 
four and twenty years before, and was now thickly 
peopled by the Portuguese settlers. Beyond Portu- 
gal its existence was hardly known. Its name was 

14461 Cadamostds Earlier Voyage. 265 

" from its woodland," but the first settlers had 
destroyed most of this in trying to clear an open 
space by fire. 

The whole island had once been in flames, the 
colonists only saved their lives by plunging into 
the rivers, and even Zarco, the chief discoverer, 
with his wife and children had to stand in a torrent 
bed for two whole days and nights before they 
could venture on dry land again. 

The island was forty miles round ; like Porto 
Santo, it was without a harbour, but not without con- 
venient roads for ships to lie in ; the soil was fertile, 
well watered by eight rivers that flowed through the 
island. " Various kinds of carved wood are ex- 
ported, so that almost all Portugal is now adorned 
with tables and other furniture made from these 

** Hearing of the great plenty of water in the 
island, the Prince ordered all the open country to be 
planted with sugar-cane and with vines imported 
from Crete, which do excellent well in a climate so 
well suited to the grape; the vine staves make good 
bows, and are exported to Europe like the wine, red 
and white alike, but especially the red. The grapes 
are ripe about Easter in each year," and this vintage, 
as early as Cadamosto's day, was evidently the main 
interest of the islanders, who had all the enthusiasm 
of a new venture in their experiment, " for no one 
had ever tried his hand upon the soil before." 

From Madeira the caravel sailed on 320 
miles to the Canaries, of which says our Vene- 
tian, there are ten, seven cultivated and three 

266 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

still desert ; and of the seven Inhabited four arc 
Christian, three Heathen, even now, fifty years after 
De Bethencourt's conquest. Neither wine nor grain 
can be produced on this soil, and hardly any fruit, 
only a kind of dye, used for clothes in Portugal ; 
goat's flesh and cheese can also be exported, and 
something, Cadamosto fancies, might be made of the 
wild asses that swarm in the islands, 

Each of these Canary islands being some forty 
miles from the next, the people of one do not 
understand the speech of their neighbours. They 
have no walls, but open villages ; watch towers arc 
placed on the highest mountains to guard the people 
of one village from the attacks of the next, for a 
guerilla warfare, half marauding, half serious civil 
war, is the. order of the day. 

Speaking of the three heathen islands, " which 
were also the most populous," Caclamosto stops a 
little over the mention of Tencriffc, " wonderful 
among the islands of the earth, and able to be seen 
in clear weather for a distance of seventy Spanish 
leagues, which is equal to two hundred and fifty 
miles. And what makes it to be seen from so far, is 
that on the top is a great rock of adamant, like a 
pyramid, which stone blazes like the mountain of 
^Etna, and is full fifteen miles from the plain, as the 
natives say." 

These natives have no iron weapons, but fight 
with stones and wooden daggers ; they go naked ex- 
cept for a defensive armour of goat-skins, which they 
wear in front and behind. Houses they have none, 
not even the poorest huts, but live in mountain 

1446] Cadamostds Earlier Voyage. 267 

caves, without faith, without God. Some indeed 
worship the sun and moon, and planets, others 
reverence certain idols ; in their marriage customs 
the chiefs have the first right by common consent, 
and at the graves of their dead chiefs are most of 
their religious sacrifices ; the islanders have only one 
art, that of stone-slinging, unless one were to count 
their mountain-climbing and skill in running and in 
all bodily exercises, in which nature has created these 
Canarians to excel all other mortals. 

They paint their bodies with the juice of plants in 
all sorts of colours and think this the highest point 
of perfection, to be decked out on their skins like a 
garden bed. 

From the Canaries, Cadamosto sails to the White 
Cape, C Blanco, on the mainland, some way beyond 
Bojador, " towards ^Ethiopia," passing the bay and 
isles of Arguin on the way, where the crews found 
such quantities of sea-birds that they brought home 
two ship-loads. And here it is to be noticed, says 
the narrative, that in sailing from the parts of Cadiz 
to that ^Ethiopia which faces to the south, you meet 
with nothing but desert lands till you come to Cape 
Cantin, from which it is a near course to C. Blanco. 
These parts towards the south do run along the 
borders of the negroes' land, and this great tract of 
white and arid land, full of sand, very low lying at a 
dead level, it would be a quick thing to cross in sixty 
days. At C. Blanco some hills begin to rise out of 
the plain, and this cape was first found by the Portu- 
guese, and on it is nothing but sand, no trace of grass 
or trees; it is seen from far, being very sharply 

268 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

marked, three-sided, and having on its crest three 
pyramids, as they may be called, each one a mile 
from its neighbour. A little beyond this great desert 
tract is a vast sea and a wondrous concourse of rivers, 
where only explorers have reached. At C. Blanco 
there is a mart of Arab traders, a station for the 
camels and caravans of the interior, and those pass 
by the cape who are coming from Negro-land and 
going to the Barbary of North Africa. As one might 
expect on such a barren stony soil, no wine or grain 
can be raised ; the natives have oxen and goats, but 
very few ; milk of camels and others, is their only 
drink ; as for religion, the wretches worship Mahomet 
and hate Christians right bitterly. What is of more 
interest to the Venetian merchant, the traders of 
these parts have plenty of camels which carry loads 
of brass and silver, and even of gold, brought from 
the negroes to the people of our parts. 

The natives of C. Blanco are black as moles, but 
dress in white flowing robes, after the Moorish 
fashion, with a turban wound round the head ; and 
indeed plenty of Arabs are always hovering off the 
cape and the bay of Arguin for the sake of trade 
with the Infant's ships, especially in silver, grain, and 
woven stuffs, and above all in slaves and gold. To 
protect this commerce, the Prince some time since 
(1448), built a fort in the bay, and every year the 
Portuguese caravels that come here lie under its pro- 
tection and exchange the negro slaves that they 
have captured farther south for Arab horses, one 
horse against ten or fifteen slaves, or for silks and 
woven stuffs from Morocco and Granada, from Tunis 

1446] Cadamostds Earlier Voyage. 269 

and the whole land of Barbary. The Arabs on their 
side sell slaves, that they have driven from the up- 
land, to the Portuguese at Arguin, in all nearly a 
thousand a year, so that the Europeans, who used 
to plunder all this coast as far as the Senegal, now 
find it more profitable to trade. 

The mention of the Senegal brings Cadamosto to 
the next stage of his voyage, to the great river, 
"which divides the Azaneguys, Tawny Moors, from 
the First Kingdom of the Negroes." 

The Azaneguys, Cadamosto goes on to define 
more exactly as a people of a colour something 
between black and ashen hue, whom the Portuguese 
once plundered and enslaved but now trade with 
peacefully enough. " For the Prince will not allow 
any wrong-doing, being only eager that they should 
submit themselves to the law of Christ. For at pres- 
ent they are in a doubt whether they should cleave 
to our faith or to Mahomet's slavery." But they 
are a filthy race, continues the traveller, all of them 
mean and very abject, liars and traitorous knaves, 
squat of figure, noisome of breath, though of a truth 
they cover their mouths as of decency, saying that 
the mouth is a very cesspool and sewer of impurity. 
They oil their hair with a foul-smelling grease, which 
they think a great virtue and honour. Much do they 
make also of their gross fat women, whose breasts 
they deform usually, that they may hang out the 
more, straining their bodies (when) at seventeen years 
of age with ropes. 

Ignorant and brutal as they are, they know no 
other Christian people but the Portuguese, who have 

270 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

enslaved and plundered them now fourteen years. 
This much is certain, that when they first saw the 
ships of Don Henry sailing past, they thought them 
to be birds coming from far and cleaving the air with 
white wings. When the crews furled sail and drew 
in to the shore, the natives changed their minds and 
thought they were fishes ; some, who first saw the 
ships sailing by night, believed them to be phantoms 
gliding past. When they made out the men on 
board of them, it was much debated whether these 
men could be mortal ; all stood on the shore, stu- 
pidly gazing at the new wonder. 

The centre of power and of trade in these parts 
was not on the coast, but some way inland. Six 
days' journey up the country is the place called 
Tagaza, or the Gold-Market, whence there is a great 
export of salt and metals which are brought on the 
camels of the Arabs and Azancguys down to the 
shore. Another route of merchants is inland to the 
Negro Empire of Melli and the city of Timbuctoo, 
where the heat is such that even animals cannot 
endure to labour and no green thing grows for the 
food of any quadruped, so that of one hundred 
camels bearing gold and salt (which they store in 
two hundred or three hundred huts) scarce thirty 
return home to Tagaza, for the journey is a long 
one, 't is forty days from Tagaza to Timbuctoo and 
thirty more from Timbuctoo to MellL 

" And how comes it," proceeds Cadamosto, "that 
these people want to use so much salt ? " and after 
some fanciful astrological reasoning he gives us his 
practical answer, " to cool their blood in the extreme 

1446] Cadamostos Earlier Voyage. 271 

heat of the sun " : and so much Is It needed that 
when they unload their camels at the entrance of the 
kingdom of Melli, they pack the salt in blocks on 
men's heads and these last carry It, like a great army 
of footmen, through the country. When one negro 
race barters the salt with another, the first party 
comes to the place agreed on, and lays down the salt 
In heaps, each man marking his own heap by some 
token. Then they go away out of sight, about the 
time of midday sun, when the second party comes 
up, being most anxious to avoid recognition and 
places by each heap so much gold as the buyer 
thinks good. Then they too go away. The sellers 
come back in the evening, each one visits his pile, 
and where the gold Is enough for the seller's wishes, 
he takes It, leaves the salt and goes away for good ; 
where it Is not enough, he leaves gold and salt 
together and only goes away to wait again till the 
buyers have paid a second visit. Now, the second 
party coming up again, take away the salt where the 
gold has been accepted, but where it still lies, re- 
fused, they either add more or take their money 
away altogether, according to what they think to be 
the worth of the salt. 

Once the King of Melli, who sent out a party with 
salt to exchange for gold, ordered his men to make 
captive some of the negroes who concealed them- 
selves so carefully. They were to wait till the buy- 
ers should come up to put down their gold ; then 
they were to rush out and seize all they could. In 
this way one man and only one was taken, who 
refused all food and died on the third day after his 

272 Prince Henry tlie Navigator, [1446- 

capture, without uttering a word, " whereby the 
King of Melli did not gain much/' but which induced 
the men of Melli to believe that the other people 
were naturally dumb. The captors described the 
appearance of those who escaped their hands, " men 
of fine build and height, more than a palm's length 
greater than their own, having the lower lip brought 
out and hung down even to the breast, red and 
bleeding and disclosing their teeth which were larger 
than the common, their eyes black, prominent, and 

For this treachery the trade was broken off three 
whole years, till the great want of salt compelled the 
injured negroes to resume, and since then the busi- 
ness had gone on as before. 

The gold thus gained is carried by the men of 
Melli to their city, and then portioned out in three 
parts ; one part goes by the caravan route towards 
Syria, the other two thirds go to Timbuctoo, and are 
there divided once again, part going to Tunis, the head 
of Barbary, and part to the regions of Marocco, over 
against Granada, and without the strait of the Pillars 
of Hercules (Gibraltar). And to those parts come 
Christian merchants, and especially Italians, to buy 
the gold in exchange for merchandise of every sort. 
For among the negroes and Azaneguys there is no 
coinage of gold or of silver, no money token of 
metal, but the whole is simply matter for exchange. 

From the trade, Cadamosto changes to discourse 
of the politics of the natives, their manners and cus- 
toms. Their government for the most part is not 
monarchy, but a tyranny of the richest and most 

1446] Cadamostds Earlier Voyage. 273 

powerful caste. Their wars are waged only with 
offensive arms, light spears and swords ; they have 
no defensive armour, but use horses, which they 
sit as the Moors do. Their ordinary garments are 
of cotton. 

The plague of excessive drought during all the 
year, except from August to October, is aggravated 
at certain seasons by the worse plague of locusts, 
" and I myself have seen them flying by troops upon 
the sea and shore like an army, but of countless 
number." After this long digression Cadamosto 
comes back to the Gulf of Senegal. ** And this," 
says he, " is the chief river of the Region of the 
Negroes, dividing them from the Tawny Moors." 
The mouth of the estuary is a mile wide, but an 
island lying in mid-channel divides the river into two 
parts just where it enters the sea. Though the cen- 
tral channel is deep enough, the entrance is made 
difficult to strangers by the shallows and sand banks 
on either side ; every six hours the river rises and 
falls with the flow and ebb of the ocean, and where 
it pours out its waters into the sea, the flux and 
reflux of waters reaches to a distance of sixty miles, 
as say the Portuguese who have watched it. The 
Senegal is nearly four hundred miles beyond Cape 
Blanco ; a sandy shore stretches between the two ; 
up to the river the sailor sees from the shore only 
the wandering Azaneguys, tawny, squat, and miser- 
able savages ; across the stream to the south are 
the real Blacks, " well built noble-looking men," and 
after so long a stretch of arid and stony desert, there 
is now a beautiful green land, covered with fruit- 


2 74 Prince Henry the Navigator. [14-45- 

bearing trees, the work of the river, which, men say, 
comes from the Nile, being one of the four most 
glorious rivers of earth that flow from the Garden of 
Eden and earthly paradise. For as the eastern Nile 
waters Egypt, so this doth water ^Ethiopia. 

Now the land of these negroes is at the entering 
In of ./Ethiopia, from which to Cape Verde the land 
is all level, where the King of Senegal, reigning over 
people that have no cities, but only scattered huts, 
lives by the presents that his subjects bring him. 
Such are oxen, goats, and horses, which are much 
valued for their scarceness, but used without saddle, 
bridle, or trappings. To these presents the King- 
adds what he can plunder by his own strength, 
especially slaves, of which the Blacks have a great 
trade with the Azancguys, Their horses they sell 
also to the Christian traders on the coast. The 
King can have as many wives as he likes (and always 
keeps well above his minimum of thirty), to each of 
whom Is assigned a certain estate with slaves and 
cattle, but not equal ; to some more, to others less. 
The King goes the round of these farms at will, and 
lives upon their produce* Any day you may see 
hosts of slaves bringing fruits of all sorts to the 
King, as he goes through the country with his 
motley following, all living at free quarters. 

Of the negroes of these parts most go naked, but 
the chiefs and great men use cotton shirts, as the 
country abounds in this sort of stuff, Cadamosto 
describes In great detail the native manufacture of 
garments, and the habits of the women ; barefoot and 
bare-headed they go always, dressed In linen, elegant 

1446] Cadamostds Earlier Voyage. 275 

enough in apparel, vile in life and diet, always chat- 
tering, great liars, treacherous and deceitful to the 
last degree. Bloody and remorseless are the wars 
the princes of these barbarians carry on against one 
another. They have no horsemen or body armour, 
but use darts and spears, barbed with many poison- 
ous fangs, and several kinds of arrows, as with us. 
From the beginning of the world they knew nothing 
of ships before the Portuguese came ; they only 
used light canoes or skiffs, each of which can be car- 
ried by three men, and in which they fish and go 
from place to place on the river. 

The boundaries of the kingdom of Senegal are the 
ocean on the west, the land of Gambra on the 
south, the inland Blackman's country on the east, 
and on the north the River Niger (Senegal), which, 
" as I have said before, divides the Azaneguys from 
the First Kingdom of the Negroes. And the said 
river,'* concludes Cadamosto, " five years before my 
coming, had been explored by the Portuguese, who 
hoped to open up a great commerce in those parts. 
So that every year from that time their ships had 
been off that coast to trade/' 

Cadamosto determined to push farther up the 
river than any had done before, and so to come 
to the land of Budomel, one of the great negro 
princes and kingdoms, for it was the name both 
of place and person. When he came there he 
found an " Emperor so honest that he might have 
been an example to any Christian/' who exchanged 
his horses, wool-fells, and linen goods for the 
strangers' merchandise and slaves, with deeds as 

276 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

honourable as his words. Our adventurer was so 
taken with " Lord Budomel " that he gladly went 
with him two hundred and fifty miles up country, 
on his promising a supply of negro slaves, black 
but comely, and none of them more than twelve 
years old. 

On this adventurous journey, of which we are 
next given a full account, Cadarnosto is taken 
charge of by Bisboror, the Prince's nephew, " through 
whom I saw many things worth noting." The Vene- 
tian was not anxious to put off to sea, as the 
weather was very rough, so rough indeed that no 
boat could venture off from the bank at the river's 
mouth to where the ships lay, and the captain had 
to send word to his crews by negro swimmers, who 
could pass any surf, " for that they excel all other 
living men in the water and under it, for they can 
dive an hour without rising," 

It is not worth while to follow Cadarnosto in all 
his long account of what he saw and heard of negro 
life in the course of this journey ; it is as unsa- 
voury as it is commonplace. He repeats very much 
of what he has said before about the Azancguys, 
of their servility to their Princes, " who arc to them 
as mortal Gods " ; of the everlasting progresses and 
wanderings of those Princes round their king- 
doms, from kraal to kraal, living on the stores each 
wife has provided ; of the kraals themselves, no towns 
or castles, as people at home might think, says Cada- 
rnosto, but merely collections of forty and fifty 
huts, with a hedge of living trees round, intertwined, 
and the royal palace in the middle. 

t4463 Cadamostds Earlier Voyage. 277 

The Prince of Budomel has a bodyguard of two 
hundred men, besides the volunteer guard of his 
innumerable children, who are broken up in two 
groups, one always at Court, " and these are made 
the most of," the other scattered up and down the 
country, as a sort of royal garrison. The wretched 
subjects, who " suffer more from their King with a 
good will than they would from any stranger under 
force/' are punished with death for the smallest 
things. Only two small classes have any privileges : 
ministers of religion share with the greatest nobles 
the sole right of access to the person of the " Mortal 

Cadamosto set up a mart in the upland and made 
what profits he could from their miserable poverty, 
making exchanges with cottons, cloths, oil, millet, 
skins, palm-leaves, and vegetables, and above all, of 
course, with gold, what little there was to be had. 
" Meantime the negroes came stupidly crowding 
about me, wondering at our Christian symbols ; our 
white colour, our dress and shape of body, our 
Damascenes, garments of black silk and robes of 
blue cloth or dyed wool, all amazed them ; some 
insisted that the white colour of the strangers was 
not natural but put on " ; as with Cook and so many 
others the savages now behaved with Cadamosto. 
They spat upon his arm and tried to rub off the 
white paint ; then they wondered more than ever 
when they found the flesh itself was white. 

Of gold after all not much was to be got, and the 
exploring party was not long in returning to the 
caravels and pushing on beyond Cape Verde. To 

278 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

the last the ships and their instruments were tifre 
chief terror and delight of the negroes and above all 
of the negro women ; the whole thing was the work 
of demons, they said, not of men, seeing that our 
engines of war could fell one hundred men at one 
discharge ; the trumpets sounding they took to 
be the yells of a living and furious beast of prey. 
Cadamosto gave them a trumpet that they might 
see it was made by art ; they changed their minds 
accordingly, and decided that such things were 
directly made by God himself, above all admiring 
the different tones, and crying loudly that they had 
never seen anything so wonderful. 

The women looked through every part of the 
ship masts, helm, anchors, sails, and oars. The 
eyes painted on the bow excited them : the ship had 
eyes and could see before it, and the men who used 
it must be wonderful enchanters like the demons. 
" This specially they wondered, that we could sail 
out of all sight of land and yet know well enough 
where we were, all which, said they, could not happen 
without black art. Scarcely less was their wonder 
at the sight of lighted candles, as they had never 
before seen any light but that of fire, when I shewed 
them how to make candles from wax which before 
they had always thrown aside as worthless, they 
were still more amazed, saying there was nothing we 
did not know." 

And now Cadamosto was ready to put off from 
the coast into the ocean and strike south for the 
kingdom of Gambro, as he had been charged by the 
Prince, who had told him it was not far from the 

1446] Cadamostds Earlier Voyage. 2 79 

Senegal, as the negroes had reported to him at 
Sagres. And that kingdom, he had been told, was 
so rich in gold that if Christians could reach it they 
would gain endless riches. 

So with two aims, first to find the golden land, 
and second to make discoveries in the unknown, the 
Venetian was just beginning to start afresh, when he 
was joined by two more ships from Portugal, and 
they agreed to round Cape Verde together. It was 
only some forty miles beyond Budomel and the 
caravels reached it next day. 

Cape Verde gets its name from its green grass and 
trees, like C. Blanco from its white sand. Both are 
very prominent, lofty, and seen from a great distance, 
as they run out far into the sea, but Cape Verde is 
more picturesque, dotted as it is with little native 
villages on the side of the ocean, and with three 
small desert islands a short distance from the main- 
land, where the sailors found birds' nests and eggs 
in thousands, of kinds unknown in Europe, and, 
above all, enormous shell-fish (turtles), of twelve 
pounds' weight. 

Soon after passing C. Verde, the coast makes a 
great sweep to the east, still covered with evergreen 
trees, coming down in thick woods to within a bow- 
shot of the sea, so that from a distance the forest 
line seems to touch the high-water mark, " as we 
thought at first looking on ahead from our ships. 
Many countries have I been in to East and West, 
but never did I see a prettier sight." 

From the place the description again changes to 
the people, and we are told once more with weari* 

2 So Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445. 

some repetitions about the people beyond C. Verde, 
in most ways like the negroes of the Senegal but 
" not obedient to that kingdom and abhorring the 
tyranny of the negro Princes, having no King or 
laws themselves, worshipping idols, using poisoned 
arrows which kill at once, even though they drew 
but little blood/* in short a most truculent folk, but 
very fine of stature, black and comely. The whole 
coast east of C. Verde was found unapproachable, 
except for certain narrow harbours, till " with a 
south wind we reached the mouth of a river, called 
Ruim, a bowshot across at the mouth. And when 
we sighted this river, which was sixty miles beyond 
C. Verde, we cast anchor at sunset in ten or twelve 
paces of water, four or five miles from the shore, but 
when it was day, as the look-out saw there was a reef of 
rocks on which the sea broke itself, we sailed on and 
came to the mouth of another river as large as the 
Senegal, with trees growing down to the water's 
edge and promising a most fertile country.'* Cada- 
mosto determined to land a scout here, and had 
lots cast among his slave-interpreters which was 
to land. " And of these slaves, negroes whom the 
native kings in the past had sold to Portuguese and 
who had then been trained in Europe I had many 
with me who were to open the country for our trade 
and to parley between us and the natives. Now the 
lot fell upon the Genoese caravel (which had joined 
the explorers), to draw Into the shore and land a 
prisoner, to try the good will of the natives before 
any one else ventured." The poor wretch, in- 
structed to enquire about the races living on the 

1446] Cadamostd s Earlier Voyage. 281 

river and their manners, polity, King's name and 
. capital, gold supply, and other matters of commerce, 
had no sooner swum ashore than he was seized and 
cut to pieces by some armed savages, while the ships 
sailed on with a south wind, making no attempt to 
avenge their victim, till after a lovely coast, fringed 
with trees, low-lying, and rich exceedingly, they 
came to the mouth of the Gambra, three or four 
miles across, the haven where they would be, and 
where Cadamosto expected his full harvest of gold 
and pepper and aromatics. 

The smallest caravel started at once the very next 
morning after the discovery to go up stream, taking 
a boat with it, in case the stream should suddenly 
get too shallow for anything larger, while the 
sailors were to keep sounding the river with their 
poles all the way. Everybody too kept a sharp 
look-out for native canoes. They had not long to 
wait. Two miles up the river three native " Alma- 
dias " came suddenly out upon them and then 
stopped dead, too astonished at the ship and the 
white men in it to offer to do more, though they 
had at first a threatening look and were now invited 
to a parley by the Europeans with every sign that 
could be thought of. 

As the natives would not come any nearer, the 
caravel returned to the mouth of the river, and next 
morning at about nine o'clock the whole fleet started 
together up stream to explore " with the hope of 
finding some more friendly natives by the kind care 
of Heaven." Four miles up the negroes came out 
upon them again in greater force, " most of them 

282 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

sooty black irl colour, dressed in white cotton, with 
something like a German helmet on their heads, 
with two wings on either side and a feather in the 
middle. A Moor stood in the bow of each Almadia, 
holding a round leather shield and encouraging his 
men to fight and to row up boldly to the caravels. 
Now their oars were larger than ours and in number 
they seemed past counting." 

After a short breathing space, while each party 
glared upon the other, the negroes shot their ar- 
rows and the caravels replied with their engines, 
which killed a whole rank of the natives. The sav- 
ages then crowded round the little caravel and set 
upon her ; they were at last beaten off with heavy 
loss and all fled ; the slave interpreters shouting out 
to them as they rowed away that they might as well 
come to terms with men who were only there for 
commerce, and had come from the ends of the 
earth to give the King of Gambra a present from his 
brother of Portugal, " and for that we hoped to be 
exceeding well loved and cherished by the king of 
Gambra. But we wanted to know who and where 
their king was, and what was the name of this river. 
They should come without fear and take of us what 
they would, giving us in return of theirs." 

The negroes shouted back that they could not be 
mistaken about the strangers, they were Christians. 
What could they have to do with them ; they knew 
how they had behaved to the King of Senegal, No 
good men could stand Christians who ate human 
flesh. What else did they buy negro slaves for? 
Christians were plundering brigands too and had 

1446] Cadamosto s Later Voyage. 283 

come to rob them. As for their king, he was three 
days' journey from the river, which was called 

When Cadamosto tried to come to closer quarters, 
the natives disappeared, and the crews refused to 
venture any farther up stream. So the caravels 
turned back, sailed down the river, and coasted away 
west to Cape Verde, and so home to Portugal. But 
before the Venetian ends his journal, he tells us how 
near Prince Henry's ships had now come to the 
Equator. " When we were in the river of Gambra, 
once only did we see the North Star, which was so 
low that it seemed almost to touch the sea." To 
make up for the loss of the Pole Star sunk to " the 
third part of a lance's length above the edge of the 
water," Cadamosto and his men had a view of six 
brilliant stars, " in form of a cross/' while the June 
night was " of thirteen hours and the day of eleven.*' 

Cadamosto only went home to refit for a second 
voyage. Though at first he had been baffled by the 
"savagery of the men of Gambra" from finding 
out much about them, he resolved to try again, 
sailed out the very next year by way of the Canaries 
and Cape Blanco, and found, after three days' more 
sailing, certain islands off Cape Verde, where no one 
had been before. The look-outs saw two very large 
islands, towards the larger of which they sailed at 
once, in the hope of finding good anchorage and 
friendly natives. But no one, friend or foe, seemed 
to live there. 

So next morning, says Cadamosto, that I might 
satisfy my own mind, I bade ten of my men, armed 

284 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

with missiles and cross-bows, to explore the inland. 
They crossed the hills that cut off the interior from 
the coast, but found nothing except doves, who were 
so tame that they could be caught in any number 
by the hand. 

And now from another side of the first island they 
caught sight of three others towards the north, and 
of two more towards the west, which could not be 
clearly seen because of the great distance. " But for 
the matter of that, we did not care to go out of our 
way to find what we now expected, that all these 
other islands were desolate like the first. So we 
went on our way (due south) and so passed another 
island, and, coming to the mouth of a river, landed 
in search of fresh water and found a beautiful and 
fruitful country covered with trees. Some sailors 
who went inland found cakes of salt, white and small, 
by the side of the river, and immense numbers of 
great turtles, with shells of such size that they could 
make very good shields for an army. 

Here they stayed a couple of days, exploring in 
the country and fishing in the river, which was so 
broad and deep that it would easily bear a ship of 
one hundred and fifty tons burden and a full bow- 
shot would not carry across it. Then, naming their 
first discovered island Boa Vista, and the largest of 
the group St. James, because it was on the feast of 
the Apostle they found it, they sailed on along the 
coast of the mainland, till they came to the Place of 
the Two Palms, between the Senegal and Cape Verde, 
" and since the whole land was known to us before, 
we did not stay, but boldly rounded C. Verde and 

1446J Cadamostos Later Voyage. 285 

ran along to the Gambra." Up this they at once 
began to steer. 

No canoes came out upon them this time, and no 
natives appeared, except a few who hung about some 
way off and did not offer to stop them. Ten miles 
up they found a small island, where one of the 
sailors died of a fever, and they called the new dis- 
covered land " St. Andrew," after him. The natives 
were now much more approachable and Cadamosto's 
men conversed with the bolder ones who came close 
up to the caravel. Like the men of Senegal, two 
things above all astonished and confounded them, 
the white sails of the ships and the white skins of 
the sailors. After much debate, carried on by yell- 
ing from boat to boat, one of the negroes came on 
board the caravel and was loaded with presents, to 
make him more communicative. The ruse was suc- 
cessful. The string of his tongue was quite loosed 
and he chattered along freely enough. The country, 
like the river, was called " Gambra " ; its king, 
Farosangul, lived ten days' journey toward the south, 
but he was himself under the Emperor of Melli, 
chief of all the negroes. 

Was there no one nearer than Farosangul? Oh, 
yes, there was Battimansa, " King Batti," and a good 
many other princes who lived quite close to the 
river. Would he guide them to Battimansa? Yes, 
safe enough, his country was only some forty miles 
from the mouth of the Gambra. 

" And so we came to Battimansa, where the river 
was narrowed down to about a mile in breadth," 
where Cadamosto offered presents to the King, and 

286 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1445- 

made a great speech before the negro magnates, 
which is abridged in the narrative, " lest the matter 
should become a great Iliad/* King Batti returned 
the Portuguese presents with gifts of slaves and gold, 
but the Europeans were sadly disappointed with the 
gold. It was not at all equal to what they expected, 
or what the people of Senegal had talked of ; " being 
poor themselves, they had fancied their neighbours 
must be rich." On the other hand, the negroes of 
Gambra would give almost any price for trinkets and 
worthless toys, because they were new. Fifteen 
days, or nearly that, did the Portuguese stay there 
trading, and immense was the variety of their visit- 
ors in that time. Most came on board simply from 
wonder and to stare at them, others to sell their cot- 
ton cloths, nets, gold rings, civet and furs, baboons 
and marmots, fruit and especially dates. Each canoe 
seemed to differ in its build and its crew from the 
last. The river, crowded with this light craft, was 
"like the Rhone, near Lyons/' but the natives 
worked their boats like gondolas, standing, one row- 
ing and another steering with oars, that were like 
half a lance in shape, a pace and a half long, with a 
round board like a trencher tied at the end. " And 
with these they make very good pace, being great 
coasting voyagers, but not venturing far out to sea 
or away from their own country, lest they should 
be seized and sold for slaves to the Christians." 

After the fortnight's stay in Battimansa's country, 
the crews began to fall ill and Cadamosto determined 
to drop down the river once more to the coast, not- 
ing as he did so all the habits of the natives. Most of 

1446] Cadamostds Later Voyage. 287 

them were Idolaters, nearly all had implicit faith in 
charms, some worshipped " Mahmoud most vile/' 
and some were Nomades like the Gypsies of Europe. 
For the most part the people of the Gambra lived 
like those of the Senegal, dressing in cotton and 
using the same food, except that they ate dog's 
flesh and were all tattooed, women as well as men. 

We need not follow Cadamosto in his accounts of 
the great trees, the wild elephants, great bats and 
" horse-fish " of the country. A chief called Gnumi- 
Mansa, " King Gnurm," living near the mouth of the 
Gambra, took him on an elephant-hunt, in which he 
got the trophies, foot, trunk, and skin, that he took 
home and presented to Prince Henry. 

On descending the Gambra, the caravel tried to 
coast along the unexplored land, but was driven by 
a storm into the open sea. After driving about 
some time and nearly running on a dangerous coast, 
they came at last to the mouth of a great river which 
they called Rio Grande, " for it seemed more like a 
gulf or arm of the sea than a river, and was nearly 
twenty miles across, some twenty-five leagues beyond 
the Gambra." Here they met natives in two canoes, 
who made signs of peace, but could not understand 
the language of the interpreters. The new country 
was absolutely outside the farthest limits of earlier 
exploration, and discovery would have to begin 
afresh. Cadamosto had no mind to risk anything 
more. His crew were sick and tired, and he turned 
back to Lisbon, observing, before he left the Ra or 
Rio Grande, as he noticed in his earlier voyage, that 
the North Star almost touched the horizon and that 

288 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1446-1446 

" the tides of that coast were very marvellous. For 
instead of flow and ebb being six hours each, as at 
Venice, the flow here was but four, and the ebb 
eight, the tide rising with such force that three 
anchors could hardly hold the caravel." 



HE last voyage of Henry's lifetime was 
that of his faithful servant, Diego 
Gomez, by which the Cape Verde 
islands first became clearly and fully 
known. It followed close upon Cada- 
mosto's venture. 
" No long time after, the Prince equipped at La- 
gos a caravel, called the Wren, and set over it Diego 
Gomez, with two other caravels, of which the same 
Gomez was captain-in-chief. Their orders were to 
go as far as they could. 

" But after passing a great river beyond the Rio 
(j-rande, we met such strong currents in the sea that 
no anchor could hold. The other captains and theii 
men were much alarmed, thinking we were at the 
end of the ocean, and begged me to put back. Ii\ 
the mid-current the sea was very clear and the na- 
tives came off from the shore and brought us their 
merchandise, cotton cloth, ivory, and a quart meas- 
ure of malaguette pepper, in grain and in its pods as 
it grows, which delighted us. 
19 289 

290 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1453- 

" As the current prevented our going farther, and 
even grew stronger, we put back and came to a land, 
where there were groves of palms near the shore, 
with their branches broken, so tall that from a dis- 
tance I thought they were the masts or spars of ne- 
groes* vessels. 

" So we went there and found a great plain cov- 
ered with hay and more than five thousand animals 
like stags, but larger, who shewed no fear of us. 
Five elephants came out of a small river that was 
fringed by trees, three full grown, with two young 
ones, and on the shore we saw holes of crocodiles in 
plenty. We went back to the ships and next day 
made our way from Cape Verde and saw the broad 
mouth of a great river, three leagues in width, which 
we entered and guessed to be the Gambia. Here 
wind and tide were in our favour, so we came to a 
small island in mid-stream and rested there the night. 
In the morning we went farther in, and saw a crowd 
of canoes full of men, who fled at the sight of us, for 
it was they who had killed Nuno Tristam and his tnen. 
Next day we saw beyond the point of the river 
some natives on the right-hand bank, who welcomed 
us. Their chief was called Frangazick and he was 
the nephew of Farosangul, the great Princ^ of the 
Negroes. There they gave us one hundred and' 
eighty pounds worth of gold, in exchange for our 
goods. The lord of the country had a negro with him 
named Buka,who knew the tongue only of Negroland, 
and finding him perfectly truthful, I asked him to go 
with me to Cantor and promised him all he needed. 
I made the same promise to his chief and kept it. 

1460] The Venture of Diego Gomez. 291 

" We went up the river as far as Cantor, which is 
a large town near the river-side. Farther than this 
the ships could not go, because of the thick growth of 
trees and underwood, but here I made it known that 
I had come to exchange merchandise, and the na- 
tives came to me in very great numbers. When the 
news spread through the country that the Christians 
were in Cantor, they came from Tambucatu in the 
North, from Mount Gelu in the South, and from Qui- 
oquun, which is a great city, with a wall of baked 
tiles. Here, too, I was told, there is gold in plenty 
and caravans of camels cross over there with goods 
from Carthage, Tunis, Fez, Cairo and all the land of 
the Saracens. These are exchanged for gold, which 
comes from the mines on the other side of Sierra 
Leone. They said that range ran southwards, 
which pleased me very greatly, because all the 
rivers coming from thence, as far as could be 
known, ran westward, but they told me that other 
very large rivers ran eastward from the other side 
of the ridge. 

" There was also, they said, East of these moun- 
tains, a great lake, narrow and long, on which sailed 
canoes like ships. The people on the opposite sides 
of this lake were always at war ; and those on the 
eastern side were white. When I asked who ruled 
in those parts, they answered that one chief was a 
negro, but towards the East was a greater lord who 
had conquered the negroes a short time before. 

" A Saracen told me he had been all through that 
land and had been present at the fighting, and when 
I told this to the Prince, he said that a merchant in 

292 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1458- 

Oran had written him two months before about this 
very war, and that he believed it. 

" Such were the things told me by the negroes at 
Cantor ; I asked them about the road to the gold 
country, and who were the lords of that country. 
They told me the King lived in Kukia, and was lord 
of all the mines on the right side of the river of 
Cantor, and that he had before the door of his palace 
a mass of gold just as it was taken from the earth, so 
large that twenty men could hardly move it, and that 
the King always fastened his horse to it and kept it 
as a curiosity on account of its size and purity. The 
nobles of his Court wore in their nostrils and ears 
ornaments of gold. 

" The parts to the East were full of gold mines, 
but the men who went into the pits to get gold did 
not live long, because of the foul air. The gold sand 
was given to women to wash the gold from it. 

" I enquired the road from Cantor to Kukia and 
was told the road ran eastward ; where was great 
abundance of gold ; as I can well believe, for I 
saw the negroes who went by those roads laden 
with it. 

"While I was thus trafficking with these negroes 
of Cantor, my men became worn out with the heat 
and so we returned towards the ocean. After I had 
gone down the river fifty leagues, they told me of a 
great chief living on the South side, who wished to 
speak with me, 

" We met in a great wood on the bank, and he 
brought with him a vast throng of people armed with 
poisoned arrows, assegais, swords and shields. And 

1460] The Venture of Diego Gomez. 293 

I went to him, carrying some presents and biscuit 
and some of our wine, for they have no wine except 
that made from the date-palm, and he was pleased 
and extremely gracious, giving me three negroes and 
swearing to me by the one only God that he would 
never again make war against Christians, but that 
they might trade and travel safely through all his 

" Being desirous of putting to proof this oath of 
his, I sent a certain Indian named Jacob whom the 
Prince had sent with us, in order that in the event 
of our reaching India, he might be able to hold 
speech with the natives, and I ordered him to go to 
the place called Al-cuzet, with the lord of that 
country, to find Mount Gelu and Timbuctoo through 
the land of Jaloffa. A knight had gone there with 
him before. 

"This Jacob, the Indian, told me that Al-cuzet 
was a very evil land, having a river of sweet water 
and abundance of lemons; and some of these he 
brought to me. And the lord of that country sent 
me elephants* teeth and four negroes, who carried 
one great ivory tusk to the ship. 

" Now the houses here are made of seaweed, cov- 
ered with straw, and while I stayed here (at the river 
mouth) three days, I learned that all the mischief 
that had been done to the Christians had been done 
by a certain king called Nomimansa, who has the 
country near the great headland by the mouth of the 
river Gambia, So I took great pains to make peace 
with him, and sent him many presents by his own 
men in his own canoes, which were going for salt 

294 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1458- 

along the coast to his own country, for this salt is 
plentiful there and of a red colour. Now Nomi- 
mansa was in great fear of the Christians, lest they 
should take vengeance upon him. 

" Then I went on to a great harbour where I had 
many negroes come to me, sent by Nomimansa to 
see if I should do anything, but I always treated 
them kindly. When the King heard this, he came 
to the river side with a great force and sitting down 
on the bank, sent for me. And so I went and paid 
him all respect. There was a Bishop there of his 
own faith who asked me about the God of the Chris- 
tians, and I ansxvcred him as God had given me to 
know ; and then I questioned him about Mahomet, 
whom they believe. At last the King was so pleased 
with what I said that he sprang to his feet and 
ordered the Bishop to leave his country within three 
days, and swore that he would kill any one who 
should speak the name of Mahomet from that day 
forward. For he said he trusted in the one only God 
and there was no other but He, whom his brother 
Prince Henry worshipped. 

" Then calling the Infant his brother, he asked me 
to baptize him and all his lords and women. He 
himself would have no other name than Henry, but 
his nobles took our names, like James and Nuno. 
So I remained on shore that night with the King 
but did not baptize him, as I was a layman. But 
:iext day I begged the King with his twelve chief 
men and eight of his wives to dine with me on my 
caravel ; and they all came unarmed and I gave them 
fowls and meat and wine, white and red, as much as 

1460] f The Venture of Diego Gomez. 295 

they could drink, and they said to one another that 
no people were better than the Christians. 

" Then again on shore the King asked me to bap- 
tize him but I said I had not leave from the Pope ; 
but I would tell the Prince, who would send a priest. 
So Nomimansa at once wrote to Prince Henry to 
send him a priest and some one to teach him the 
faith, and begged him to send him a falcon with the 
priest, for he was amazed when I told him how we 
carried a bird on the hand to catch other birds. And 
with these he asked the Prince to send him two rams 
and sheep and geese and ganders and a pig, and 
two men to build houses and plan out his town. 
And all these wishes of his I promised him that the 
Prince would grant. And he and all his people made 
a great noise at my going but I left the King at 
Gambia and started back for Portugal. One caravel 
I sent straight home, but with the others I sailed to 
Cape Verde. 

" And as we came near the sea-shore we saw two 
canoes putting out to sea; but we sailed between 
them and the shore, and so cut them off. Then the 
interpreter came to me and said that Bezeghichi, the 
lord of the land and an evil man, was in one of them* 

" So I made them come Into the caravel and gave 
them to cat and drink with a double share of 
presents, and making as if I did not know him to be 
the chief, I said ' Is this the land of Bezeghichi?' He 
answered * Yes, it is/ And I, to try him, exclaimed 
* Why is he so bitter against the Christians ? He 
would do far better to have peace with them, so that 
they might trade in his land and bring him horses 

296 Prince Henry the Navigator. [143 - 

and other things, as they do for other lords of 
the negroes. Go and tell your lord Bezeghichi that 
I have taken you and for love of him have let 
you go/ 

" At this he was very cheerful and he and his men 
got into their canoes, as I bade them, and as they all 
were standing by the side of the caravel, I called out 
* Bezeghichi, Bezeghichi, do not think I did not 
know thee. I could have done to thee what I would, 
and now, as I have done to thee, do thou also to 
our Christians.' 

" So they went off, and we came back to Arguin 
and the Isle of the Herons, where we found flocks of 
birds of every kind, and after this came home to 
Lagos, where the Prince was very glad of our return. 

"Then after this for two years no one went to 
Guinea, because King Affonso was at war in Africa 
and the Prince was quite taken up with this. But 
after he had come back from Alcacer, I reminded 
him of what King Nomimansa had asked of him ; 
and the Prince sent him all he had promised, with a 
priest, the Abbot of Soto de Cassa, and a young man 
of his household named John Delgado. This was 
in 1458. 

" Two years afterwards King Affonso equipped a 
large caravel and sent me out as captain, and I took 
with me ten horses and went to the land of the 
Barbacins, which is near the land of Nomimansa. 
And these Barbacins had two kings, but the King of 
Portugal gave me power over all the shores of that 
sea, that any ships I might find off the coast of 
Guinea should be under me, for he knew that there 

1460] The Venture of Diego Gomez. 297 

were those who sold arms to the Moors, and he 
bade me to seize such and bring them bound to 

" And by the help of God I came in twelve days 
to this land (of the Barbacins), and found two ships 
there, one under Gonzalo Ferreira, of Oporto, of 
the Household of Prince Henry, that was conveying 
horses ; the other was under Antonio de Noli, of 
Genoa. These merchants injured our trade very 
much, for the natives used to give twelve negroes 
for one horse, and now gave only six. 

" And while we were there, a caravel came from 
Gambia, which brought us news that a captain called 
De Prado was coming with a richly laden ship, and 
I ordered Ferreira to go to Cape Verde and look for 
that ship and seize it, on pain of death and loss of 
all his goods. And he did so, and we found a great 
prize, which I sent home with Ferreira to the King. 
And then I and Antonio de Noli left that coast, and 
sailed two days and one night towards Portugal, and 
we sighted islands in the ocean, and as my ship was 
lighter and faster than the rest, I came first to one 
of those islands, to a good harbour, with a beach of 
white sand, where I anchored. I told all my men 
and the other captains that I wished to be first to 
land, and so I did* 

" We saw no trace of natives, and called the island 
Santiago, as it is still known* There were plenty of 
fish there and many strange birds, so tame that we 
killed them with sticks. And I had a quadrant with 
me, and wrote on the table of it the altitude of the 
Arctic Pole, and I found it better than the chart, for 

298 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1458-1460 

though you see your course of sailing on the chart 
well enough, yet if once you get wrong, it is hard by 
map alone to work back into the right course. 

"After this we saw one of the Canary islands, 
called Palma, and so came to the island of Madeira ; 
and then adverse winds drove me to the Azores, but 
Antonio de Noli stayed at Madeira, and, catching 
the right breeze, he got to Portugal before me, and 
begged of the King the captaincy of the island of 
Santiago, which I had found, and the King gave it 
him, and he kept it till his death, 

" But De Prado, who had carried arms to the 
Moors, lay in irons and the King ordered him to be 
brought out. And then they martyrised him in a 
cart, and threw him into the fire alive with his 
sword and gold." 












|HILE Cadamosto and Diego Gomez 
were carrying the Prince's flag farther 
from the shores of Europe " than 
Alexander or Caesar had ever ven- 
tured," the Prince himself was getting 
more and more absorbed in the pro- 
ject of a new Holy War against the Infidel. 

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 into the hands 
of the Ottoman Turks, had at least the effect of 
frightening and almost of rousing Western Christen- 
dom at large. In the most miserably divided of 
Latin states there was now a talk about doing great 
things, though the time, the spirit for actually doing 
them, had long passed by, or was not yet come. 
Spain, the one part of the Western Church and 
State, which was still living in the crusading fervour 
of the twelfth century, was alone ready for action. 
The Portuguese kingdom In particular, under Af- 
fonso V,, had been keeping up a regular crusade in 
Marocco, and was willing and eager to spend men 
and treasure in a great Levantine enterprise. So 

3OO Prince Henry the Navigator. [1453- 

the Pope's Legate was welcomed when he came in 
1457 to Pleach the Holy War. Affonso promised to 
keep up an army of twelve thousand men for war 
against the Ottoman, and struck a new gold coinage 
the Cruzado to commemorate the year of Deliv- 

But Portugal by itself could not deliver New 
Rome or the Holy Land, and when the other 
powers of the West refused to move, Affonso had 
to content himself with the old crusade in Africa, 
but he now pushed on even more zealously than 
before his favourite ambition, a land empire on both 
sides of the Straits, and Prince Henry 's last appear- 
ance in public service was in his nephew's camp in 
the Marocco campaign of 1458. In the siege of 
Alcager the Little, the " Lord Infant " forced the 
batteries, mounted the guns, and took charge of the 
general conduct of the siege. A breach was soon 
made in the walls, and the town surrendered on easy 
terms, " for it was not," said Henry, " to take their 
goods or force a ranspm from them that the King of 
Portugal had come against them, but for the service 
of God." They were only to leave behind in Al- 
cager their Christian prisoners ; for themselves, they 
might go, with their wives, their children, and their 

The stout-hearted veteran Edward Menezes be- 
came governor of Alcager, and held the town with 
his own desperate courage against all attempts to 
recover it. When the besiegers offered him terms, 
he offered them in return his scaling ladders that 
they might have a fair chance; when they were 

1460] Fra Mauros Chart. 301 

raising the siege he sent them a message, Would 
they not try a little longer? It had been a very 
short affair. 

Meantime Henry, returning to Europe by way of 
Ceuta, re-entered his own town of Sagres for the last 
time. His work was nearly done, and indeed, of that 
work there only remains one thing to notice. The 
great Venetian map, known as the Camaldolese 
Chart of Fra Mauro, executed in the convent of 
Murano just outside Venice, is not only the crown- 
ing specimen of mediaeval draughtsmanship, but the 
scientific review of the Prince's exploration. As 
Henry himself closes the middle age of exploration 
and begins the modern, so this map, the picture and 
proof of his discoveries, is not only the last of the 
older type of plan, but the first of the new style the 
style which applied the accurate and careful methods 
of Portolano-drawing to a scheme of the whole 
world. It is the first scientific atlas. 

But its scale is too vast for anything of a de- 
tailed account: it measures six feet four inches 
across, and In every part it Is crammed with detail, 
the work of three years of incessant labour (1457-9) 
from Andrea Bianco and all the first coasters and 
draughtsmen of the time. In general, there is an 
external carefulness as well as gorgeousness about 
the workmanship; the coasts, especially in the 
Mediterranean and along the west coast of Europe, 
would almost suit a modern Admiralty Chart, while 
its notice, the first notice, of Prince Henry's African 
and Atlantic discoveries is the special point of the 
whole work. 

302 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1458- 

There is a certain disposition to exaggerate the 
size of rivers, mountains, towns, and the whole pro- 
portion of things, as we get farther away from the 
well-known ground of Europe ; Russia and the north 
and north-east of Asia are somewhat too large, 
but along the central belt, it is fair to say that the 
whole of the country west of the Caspian is thor- 
oughly sound, the best thing yet done in any 

No one could look at Fra Mauro's map and fail 
to see at a glance a picture of the Old World ; and 
the more it is looked at, the more reliable it will 
prove to be, by the side of all earlier essays in this 
field. No one can look at the Arabic maps and their 
imitations in mediaeval Christendom, whether con- 
scious or unconscious (as in the Spanish example of 
1109), without despair. It is almost hopeless to try 
and recognise in these anything of the shape, the 
proportions, or the distribution of the parts of the 
world which are named, and which one might al- 
most fancy it was meant to represent at the time. 

Place the map of 1459 by ^c side of the Hereford 
map of 1300 or of Edrisi's scheme of 1150 (made at 
the Christian Court of Sicily), or in fact beside any 
of the theoretical maps of the thousand years that 
had gone to make the Italy and the Spain of Fra 
Mauro and Prince Henry, and it will seem to be al- 
most absurd to ask the question : Do these belong to 
the same civilisation, in any kind of way? What 
would the higher criticism answer, out of its infallible 
Internal evidence tests ? Of course, these are quite 
different. The one is merely a collection of the 

t460] The Last Years. 303 

scratchings of savages, the other is the prototype of 
modern maps. Yet the Christian world is answer- 
able for both kinds ; it had struggled through 
ignorance and superstition and tradition into clearer 
light and truer knowledge. 

And when Greek geography came to be reprinted 
and revived, this was in part at least a consequence 
of that revival of true science which had begun in 
that very dark time, the night of the twelfth cen- 
tury, where we are not likely to see any signs of 
dawn till we look, not so much at what is written 
now, as at what the poor besotted savages of the 
ages of Abelard and Bernard and Aquinas and 
Dante have left to bear witness of themselves. 

Between Henry's return from Alcager and his 
death, while the great Venetian map was in making, 
two years went by, years in which Diego Gomez was 
finding the Cape Verde islands and pushing the 
farthest south of European discovery still farther 
south, but of the Prince's own working, apart from 
that of his draughtsman, we have little or nothing, 
but a set of charters* yrhese charters were concerned 
with the trade profits of the Guinea commerce and 
the settlers in the new found lands off the continent 
Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries, and have an 
interest as being a sort of last will and testament of 
the Prince to his nation, settling his colonies, pro- 
viding for the working of the lands he had explored, 
before it should be too late. Already on the /th 
June, 1454, Affonso had granted to the Order of 
Christ, for the explorations " made and to be made 
at the expense of the aforesaid Order," the spiritual 

304 Prince Henry the Navigator. [1458- 

jurisdiction of Guinea, Nubia, and Ethiopia, with all 
rights as exercised in Europe and at the Mother 
house of Thomar. 

Now on the 28th December, 1458, Prince Henry 
granted " in his town " that " the said Order should 
receive one twentieth of all merchandise from 
Guinea," slaves, gold and all other articles ; the rest 
of the profit to fall to the Prince's successor in this 
" Kingdom of the Seas." In the same way on the 
1 8th September, 1460, the Prince grants away the 
Church Revenues of Porto Santo and Madeira to 
the Order of Christ, and the temporalities to the 
Crown of Portugal. It was his to give, for by Royal 
Decree of September 15, 1448, the whole control of 
the African and ocean trade and colonies had been 
expressly conferred upon the Infant. No ships as 
we have seen could sail beyond Bojador without his 
permit ; whoever transgressed this forfeited his ship ; 
and all ships sailing with his permit were obliged to 
pay him one fifth or one tenth of the value of their 

But the end was in sight. The Prince was now 
sixty-six, and he had spent himself too strenuously 
for there to be much hope of a long life in him. Of 
late years, pressed by the increasing claims of his 
work, he had borrowed enormous sums from his 
half brother, the millionaire Duke of Braganza. 
Now his body failed him like his treasures, 

What we know of his death is mainly from his 
body servant, Captain Diego Gomez, who was with 
him at the last. " In the year of Christ 1460, the 
Lord Infant Henry fell sick in his own town, on 



1460] The Hero's Death. 305 

Cape St. Vincent, and of that sickness lie died on 
Thursday, November I3th, in the selfsame year. 
And King Affonso, who was then at Evora with all 
his men, made great mourning on the death of a 
Prince so mighty, who had sent out so many fleets, 
and had won so much from Negro-land, and had 
fought so constantly against the Saracens for the 

" And at the end of the year, the King bade me 
come to him. Now till then I had stayed in Lagos 
by the body of the Prince my lord, which had been 
carried into the Church of St. Mary in that town. 
And I was bidden to look and see if the body of the 
Prince were at all corrupted, for it was the wish of 
the King to remove it to the Monastery of Batalha 
which D. Henry's father King John had built. But 
when I came and looked at the body, I found it dry 
and sound, clad in a rough shirt of horse-hair. Well 
doth the Church repeat ' Thou shalt not suffer thine 
Holy One to see corruption.' 

" For how the Lord Infant had been chaste, a vir- 
gin to the day of his death, and what and how many 
good deeds he had clone in his life, is to be remem- 
bered, though it is not for me here to speak of this. 
For that would be a long tale. But the King 
Affonso had the body of his uncle carried to Batalha 
and laid in the chapel that King John had built, 
where also lie buried the aforesaid King John and 
his Queen Phillipa, mother of my lord the Prince, 
and all the five brothers of the Infant." 

He was brawny and large of frame, says Azurara, 
strong of limb as any. His complexion was fair by 

306 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

nature, but by liis constant toil and exposure of 
himself it had become quite dark. His face was 
stern and when angry, very terrible. Brave as he 
was in heart and keen in mind, he had a passion for 
the doing of great things. Luxury and avarice 
never found lodgment within him. For from a 
youth, he quite left off the use of wine, and more 
than this, as it was commonly reported, he passed all 
his days in unbroken chastity. He was so generous 
that no other uncrowned Prince in Europe had so 
noble a household, so large and splendid a school 
for the young nobles of his country. 

For all the best men of his nation and still more 
those who came to him from foreign lands were wel- 
comed at his Court, so that often the medley of 
tongues and peoples and customs to be heard and 
seen there was a wonder. And none who worthily 
came to him left the Court without some proof of 
his kindness. 

Only to himself was he severe. All his days were 
spent in work, and it would not easily be believed 
how often he passed the night without sleep, so that 
by his untiring industry he conquered the impossi- 
bilities of other men. His virtues and graces it is 
too much to reckon up ; wise and thoughtful, of 
wonderful knowledge and calm bearing, courteous 
in language and manner and most dignified in ad- 
dress, yet no subject of the lowest rank could show 
more obedience and respect to his sovereign than 
this uncle to his nephew, from the very beginning 
of his reign, while King Affonso was still a minor. 
Constant in adversity and humble in prosperity, my 

1460] His Character. 307 

Lord the Infant never cherished hatred or ill will 
against any, even though they had grievously 
offended him, so that some, who spoke as if they 
knew everything, said that he was wanting in re- 
tributive justice, though in all other ways most im- 
partial. Thus they complained that he forgave some 
of his soldiers who deserted him in the attack on 
Tangier, when he was in the greatest danger. Fie 
was wholly given up to the public service, and was 
always glad to try new plans for the welfare of the 
Kingdom at his own expense. He gloried in warfare 
against the Infidels and in keeping peace with all 
Christians. And so he was loved by all, for he loved 
all, never injuring any, nor failing in due respect and 
courtesy towards any person however humble, with- 
out forgetting his own position. A foul or indecent 
word was never heard to Issue from his lips. 

To Holy Church, above all, he was most obedient, 
attending all Its services and in his own chapel 
causing them to be rendered as solemnly as in any 
Cathedral Church. All holy things he reverenced, 
and he delighted to shew honour and to do kindness 
to all the ministers of religion. Nearly one half of 
the year was passed by him in fasting, and the hands 
of the poor never went out empty from his presence. 
His heart never knew fear except the fear of sin. 



|ENRY'S own life is in one way the 
least important part of him. We 
have seen how many were the lines 
of history and of progress in 
Christendom, in Portugal, in Science 
that met in him ; how Greek 
and Arabic geography, both knowledge and practi- 
cal exploration, was as much a part of what he 
found to work with as the memoirs of Christian 
pilgrims, traders, and travellers for a thousand 
years; how the exploring and expanding energy 
which the Northmen poured into Europe, leading 
directly to the Crusading movement, was producing 
in the Portugal of the fifteenth century the very 
same results as in the France and Italy and England 
of the twelfth and thirteenth ; and how, on the 
failure of the Syrian crusades, the Spanish counter- 
part of those crusades, the greatest of social and re- 
ligious upheavals in the Middle Ages, had reached 
such a point of success that the victorious Christians 
of Spain could look out for new worlds to conquer. 
Again we have seen how the twelfth, thirteenth, and 
fourteenth century progress in science, especially 


Results of Henry's Work. 309 

in geographical maps and plans, the great extension 
of land travel and the new beginnings of ocean 
voyaging during the same time, must be taken into 
any view of the Prince's life and work. We have 
now to look for a moment at the immense results of 
that same life which had so vast and so long a 

For just as we cannot see how that work of his 
could have been done without each and every part 
of that many-sided preparation in the history of the 
past, so it is quite as difficult to see how the great 
achievements of the generation that followed him 
and of the century, that wonderful sixteenth cen- 
tury, which followed the age of Henry's courtiers and 
disciples, could have been realised without the im- 
petus he had given and the knowledge he had spread. 

For it was not merely that his seamen had broken 
down the middle wall of superstitious terror and Had 
pierced through into the unknown South for a dis- 
tance of nearly two thousand miles ; it was not 
merely that between 1412 and 1460 Europeans 
passed the limits of the West and of the South, as 
legend had so long fixed them ; not merely that the 
most difficult part of the African coast, between 
Bojador and the Gulf of Guinea, had been fairly 
passed and that the waterway to India was more 
than half found. This was true enough. When 
Vasco da Gama was once round the South Cape, he 
soon found himself not in an unknown and untrav- 
ersed ocean, but embarked upon one of the great 
trade routes of the Mahometan world. The main 
part of the distance between the Prince's farthest 

310 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

and the southern Cape of Good Hope, was passed 
in two voyages, in four years (1482-6). 

But there was more than this. Henry did not 
only accomplish the first and most difficult steps of 
his own great central project, the finding of the way 
round Africa to India ; he not only began the con- 
version of the natives, the civilisation of the coast 
tribes and the colonisation of certain trading sites ; 
he also founded that school of thought and practice 
which made all the great discoveries that have so 
utterly eclipsed his own. 

From that school came Columbus, who found a 
western route to India, starting from the suggestion 
of Henry's attempt by south and east ; Bartholo- 
mew Diaz:, who reached and rounded the southern- 
most point of the old-world continent and laid open 
the Indian Ocean to European sailors; Da Gama, 
who was the first of those sailors to reap the full ad- 
vantage of the work of ninety years, the first who 
sailed from Lisbon to Calicut and back again ; Al- 
buquerque, who founded the first colonial empire of 
Modern Europe, the first great out-settlement of 
Christendom, the Portuguese trade dominion in the 
East ; Magellan, who finally proved what all the great 
discoverers were really assuming the roundness of 
the world ; the nameless adventurers who seem to 
have touched Australia some time before 1530 ; the 
draughtsmen who left us our first true map of the 
globe. So it is not in the actual things done by the 
Prince's efforts that we can measure his importance 
in history. It is because his work was infinitely sug- 
gestive, because he laid a right foundation for the 


Columbus and his Peers. 311 

onward movement of Europe and Christendom, be- 
cause he was the leader of a true Renaissance and 
Reformation, that he is so much more than a figure 
in the story of Portugal. 

There are figures which are of national interest : 
there are others which are less than that, figures of 
family or provincial importance ; others again which 
are always dear to us as human beings, as men who 
felt the ordinary wants and passions and lived the 
ordinary life of men with a brilliancy and an intense 
power that was all their own ; there are other men 
who stand out as those who have changed more or 
less, but changed vitally and really, the course of 
the world's history ; without whom the whole of our 
modern society, our boasted civilisation, would have 
been profoundly different. 

For after all the modern Christian world of Europe 
has something to boast of, though its writers spend 
much of their time in reviling and decrying it. It is 
something that our Western world has conquered or 
worsted every other civilisation upon earth ; that 
with the single exception of China, It has made every- 
one of the coveted tracts of Asia its own ; that it 
has discovered, settled, and developed a new conti- 
nent to be the equal of the old ; that it has won not 
a complete but a good working knowledge of the 
whole surface of the globe. We are at home in the 
world now, we say, and if we would know what that 
means, we must look at the Europe of the tenth or 
even the fourteenth century, look at the theoretic 
maps of the Middle Ages, look at the legends and 
the pseudo-science of a civilisation which was shut 

312 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

up within itself and condemned for so long to fight 
in a narrowing circle against incessant attacks from 
without and the barbarism which this state of things 
kept alive within. Then perhaps we shall take things 
a little less for granted, and perhaps also we shall 
begin to think that if this great advance, the great- 
est thing in Modern History as we know it, that 
which is the distinction and glory of the last three 
hundred years, is at all due to the inspiration and 
the action of Henry of Portugal, an obscure Prince 
of the fifteenth ccnrury, that obscure Prince may 
possibly belong to the rank of the great civilisers, 
the men who have most altered society and advanced 
it, men like Alexander and Caesar and the founders 
of the great world religions. 

It may be as well to trace out very shortly the 
evidence for such a claim as this and to see, how the 
Prince's work was followed up, first on his own lines 
to south and east ; second, on other lines, which his 
own suggested, to west and north. 

I. King Affonso V., Henry's nephew, though 
rather more of a hard fighter and tournament king 
than a man who could fully take up his uncle's 
plans, had yet caught enough of his inspiration to 
push on steadily, though slowly, the advance round 
Africa. He had already done his best to get the 
great map of Fra Mauro finished : this, which em- 
bodied all the achievements of the Navigator and 
gave the most complete and perfect view of the 
world that had ever yet appeared, had come out in 
1459, J ust before Henry's death, the last tribute of 
science to the Prince's work* 

Columbus and His Peers. 313 

Now, In 1461, left alone to deal with the discovery 
and conquest of Guinea, Affonso repaired Henry's 
fort in the Bay of Arguln and sent one Pedro de 
Cintra to survey the coast beyond the Rio Grande, 
the farthest point of Cadamosto in his first voyage, 
as generally known. Pedro went six hundred miles 
into the Bight of Benin, passed a mountain range 
called Sierra Leone from the lion-like growl of the 
thunder on its summits, and turned back near the 
point afterwards known as Fort La Mina (1461). 
Some time in the next few years, another courtier, one 
Sueiro da Costa followed Pedro de Cintra to Guinea, 
but without any new results ; when Cadamosto left 
Portugal (Feb. I, 1463), he tells us "there were no 
more voyages to the new-found parts/' 

The slave-trade nearer home was now, indeed, 
absorbing all energies and Affonso's main relation 
with African voyaging is to be found in his regula- 
tions for the security of this trade. 

But in 1471 there was another move in the line of 
further discovery. For exploring energy was not 
dead or yrorn out, but only waiting a leader. Fer- 
nando Po now reached the island in the farthest 
inlet of the Gulf of Guinea, which is still called after 
him, finding as he went on that the eastern bend of 
Africa, which men had followed so confidently since 
1445, the year of the rounding of Cape Verde, now 
ended with a sharp turn to the south. It was a 
great disappointment. But in spite of this discour- 
agement, at the very same time two of the foremost 
of the Portuguese pilots, Martin Fernandez and 
Alvaro Esteeves, passed the whole of the Guinea 

314 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

Coast, the Bights of Benin and of Biafra, and crossed 
the Equator, Into a new Heaven and a new Earth, 
on the edge of which the caravels of Portugal had 
long been hovering, as they saw like Cadamosto, 
stars unknown In the Northern Hemisphere and 
more and more nearly lost sight of the Northern 

In 1475 Cape St. Catherine, two degrees south of 
the Line, was reached and then after six more years 
of languishing exploration and flourishing trade, 
King John II. succeeded Affonso V. and took up 
the work, in the spirit of Prince Henry the 

Now In six short years, exploration carried out 
the main part of the design of so many years, the 
southern Cape of Africa was rounded and the way 
to India laid open. For the time had come, and the 
man, John added a new chapter to discovery by the 
travellers he sent across the Dark Continent and 
the sailors he despatched to the Arctic Seas to find 
a north-east passage to China. 

He died just as he was fitting up the expedition 
that was to enter upon the promised land, and the 
glory of Da Garna's voyage fell to one who had not 
laboured, but entered upon the fruits of the toil 
of other men, the palace-king, Emanuel the For- 
tunate. But at least the names of Diaz, and Diego 
Cam, and Covilham, the rounding of the Cape of 
Storms, the first journey (though an overland one), 
straight from Lisbon to Malabar, belong to the 
second founder of Portuguese and European discov- 
ery, John the Perfect. 



Columbus and His Peers. 315 

Less than four months after his father's death, 
John, who as heir apparent, had drawn part of his 
income from the African trade and its fisheries, sent 
out Diego de Azambuga with ten caravels to super- 
intend three undertakings : first the construction of 
a fort at St. George da Mina, to secure the trade of 
the Guinea Coast ; second, the rebuilding of Henry's 
old fort at Arguin ; third, the exploration of the yet 
unknown coast as far as possible. For this, stones, 
brick, wood, mortar, and tools for building were sent 
out with the fleet, and carved pillars were taken to 
be set up in all fresh discovered lands, instead of the 
wooden crosses that had previously done duty. 
Each pillar was fourteen hands high, was carved in 
front with the royal arms and on the sides with the 
names of the King and the Discoverer, with the 
date of discovery in Latin and Portuguese. 

Azambuga's fleet sailed on the nth of December, 
1480, made a treaty with the chief Bezeghichi, near 
Cape Verde, and reached La Mina, on the south 
coast of Guinea, on January 19, 1482, after a year 
spent in fort building and treaty making with the 
natives of north-west Africa. Fort and church at 
La Mina were finished in twenty days, and Azam- 
buga sent back his ships with a great cargo in slaves 
and gold, but without any news of fresh discovery. 
John was not disposed to be content with this* In 
1484, Diego Cam was ordered to go as far to the 
south as he could, and not to "wait anywhere for 
other matters/' He passed Cape St. Catherine, just 
beyond the Line, which since 1475 had been the limit 
of knowledge, and continuing south, reached the 

3 1 6 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

mighty river Congo, called by the natives Zaire, and 
now known as the second of African rivers, the true 
counterpart of that western Nile, which every geog- 
rapher since Ptolemy had reproduced and which, in 
the Senegal, the Gambia, and the Niger, the Portu- 
guese had again and again sought to find their ex- 

Cam, by agreement with the natives, took back 
four hostages to act as interpreters and next year 
returned to and passed the Congo, and sailed two 
hundred leagues beyond, to the site of the modern 
Walvisch Bay (1485). 

Here, as the coast seemed to stretch interminably 
south, though he had now really passed quite nine- 
tenths of the distance to the southern Cape, Cam 
turned back to the Congo, where he persuaded the 
King and people to profess themselves Christians and 
allies of Portugal Already, in 1484, a native em- 
bassy to King John had brought such an account of 
an inland prince, one Ogane, a Christian at heart, 
that all the Court of Lisbon thought he must be 
the long lost Prester John, and the Portuguese 
monarch, all on fire with this hope, sent out at 
once in search of this " great Catholic lord," by sea 
and land. 

Bartholomew Diaz sailed in August, 1486, with 
two ships, first to search for the Prester, and then to 
explore as much new land and sea as he could find 
within his reach. Two envoys, Covilham and Payva, 
were sent on the same errand, by way of Jerusalem, 
Arabia, and Egypt ; another expedition was sent to 
ascend the Senegal to its junction with the Nile ; a 

Columbus and His Peers. 317 

fourth party started to find the way to Cathay by 
the North-east passage. 

Camoens has sung of the travels of Covilham, who 
first saw cloves and cinnamon, pepper and ginger, 
and who pined away in a state of confinement at the 
Prester's Abyssinian Court, but the voyage of Diaz 
hardly finds a place in the Lusiads and the very name 
of the discoverer is generally forgotten. Vasco da 
Gama has robbed him only too successfully. 

John Diaz had been the second captain to double 
Bojaclor ; Diniz Diaz, in 1445, had been the discov- 
erer of Senegal and of Cape Verde ; now, forty years 
later, Bartholomew Diaz achieved the greatest feat of 
discovery in all history, before Columbus; for the 
Northmen's finding America was an unknown and 
transitory good fortune, while the voyage of 1486 
changed directly or indirectly the knowledge, the 
trade, the whole face of the world at once and forever. 

Sailing with "two little friggits," each of fifty 
tons burden, in the belief that ships which sailed 
down the coast of Guinea might be sure of reaching 
the end of the continent, by persisting to the south, 
Diaz, in one voyage of sixteen months, performed the 
main task which Henry seventy years ago had set 
before his nation. 

Passing Walvisch Bay and the farthest pillar of 
Diego Cam, he reached a headland where he set up 
his first new pillar at what is still known as Diaz 
Point, Still coasting southwards and tacking fre- 
quently, he passed the Orange River, the northern 
limit of the present Cape Colony. Then putting 
we 1 ,! out to sea Diaz ran thirteen days before the wind 

3 1 8 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

due south, hoping by this wide sweep to round the 
southern point of the continent, which could not now 
be far off. Finding the cold become almost Arctic 
and buffeted by tremendous seas, he changed his 
course to east, and then as no land appeared after 
five days, to north. The first land seen was a bay 
where cattle were feeding, now called Flesh Bay, 
which Diaz named from the cows and cowherds he 
saw there. After putting ashore two natives, some 
of those lately carried from Guinea or Congo to 
Portugal, and sent out again to act as scouts for the 
European colonies, the ships sailed east, seeking in 
vain for the laud's end, till they found the coast tend 
gradually but steadily towards the north. 

Their last pillar was set up in Algoa Bay, the first 
land trodden by Christians beyond the Cape. At 
the Great Fish River, sixty miles farther on and 
quite five hundred miles beyond the point that Diaz 
was looking for so anxiously, the crew refused to go 
any farther and the Admiral turned back, only cer- 
tain of one thing, that lie had missed the Cape, and 
that all his trouble was in vain. Worn out with the 
worry of his bitter disappointment and incessant 
useless labour, he was coasting slowly back, when one 
day the veil fell from his eyes. For there came in 
sight that "so many ages unknown promontory" 
round which lay the way to India, and to find which 
had been the great ambition of all enterprise since 
the expansion of Europe had begun afresh in the 
opening years of that fifteenth century* 

While Diaz was still tossing in the storms off the 
Great Cape, Covilham and his friends had starred 


Columbus and His Peers. 319 

from Lisbon to settle the course of the future sea- 
route to India by an " observation of all the coasts 
of the Indian Ocean," to explore what they could of 
Upper Africa, to find Prester John, and to ally the 
Portuguese experiment with anything they could find 
of Christian power in Greater or Middle or Further 

As King John's Senegal adventurers had" been ex- 
ploring the Niger, the Sahara caravan routes, the city 
of Timbuctoo and the fancied western Nile, so the 
Abyssinian travellers surveyed all the ground of 
Africa and Malabar which the first fleet that could 
round the Cape of Storms must come to. " Keep 
southward/* Covilham wrote home from Cairo after 
his first visit to Calicut on one side and to Mozam- 
bique on the other, " if you persist, Africa must come 
to an end. And when ships come to the Eastern 
Ocean let them ask for Sofala and the island of the 
Moon (Madagascar), and they will find pilots to take 
them to Malabar.' 1 

Yet another chapter of discoveries was opened by 
King John's Cathay fleet. He failed to get news of 
a North-east passage, but beyond the north coast 
of Asia there was found a frozen island whose name 
of Novaia Zcmlaia or Nova Zembla still keeps the 
memory of the first Portuguese attempts on the road 
where so many Dutch and English seamen perished 
in after years. 

The great voyage of Vasco da Gania (1497-9), the 
empire founded by Albuquerque (1506-15) in the 
Indian seas, were the other steps in the complete 
achievement of Prince Henry's ambition. When in 

320 Prince Henry the Navigator. 

the early years of the sixteenth century a direct and 
permanent traffic was fairly started between Malabar 
and Portugal, when European settlements and forts 
controlled the whole eastern and western coasts of 
Africa from the mouth of the Red Sea to the mouth 
of the Mediterranean, and the five keys of the Indies 
Malacca, Goa, Ormuz, Aden, and Ceylon were 
all in Christian hands, when the Moslem trade be- 
tween east Africa and western India had passed into 
a possession of the Kings of Lisbon, Don Henry 
might see of the travail of his soul and be well 

The supposed discovery of Australia about 1530, 
or somewhat earlier, and the travels of Ferdinand 
Mendez Pinto in Japan and the furthest East, the 
opening of the trade with China in 1517, and the 
complete exploration of Abyssinia, the Prcstcr's 
kingdom, in 1520, by Alvarez and the other Catholic 
missionaries, the millions converted by Francis 
Xavier and the Jesuit preachers in Malabar, and the 
union of the old native Christian Church of India 
with the Roman (1599), were other steps in the same 
road. All of them, if traced back far enough, bring 
us to the Court of Sagres, and the same is true of 
Spanish and French and Dutch and English empires 
in the southern and eastern world* Henry built for 
his own nation, but when that nation failed from 
the exhaustion of its best blood, other peoples 
entered upon the inheritance of his work. 

But though he was not able himself to sec the ful- 
filment of his plans, both the method of a South-east 
passage, and the men who followed it out to com* 

Columbus and His Peers. 321 

plete success, were his, his workmanship and his 

Da Gama, Diego Cam, the Diaz family, and most 
of the great seamen who followed the path they 
had traced, were either " brought up from boyhood 
in the Household of the Infant/' as the Chronicle 
of the Discovery tells us of each new figure that 
conies upon the scene, or looked to him as their mas- 
ter, owed to the School of Sagres their training, and 
began their practical seamanship under his leave and 
protection. Even the lines upon which the national 
expansion and exploration went on were so strictly 
and exclusively the same as he had followed, that 
when a different route to the Indies was suggested 
after his death by Christopher Columbus, the Court 
of John II. refused to treat it seriously. And this 
brings us to the other, the Indirect side of Henry's 

" It was in Portugal," (says Ferdinand Columbus, 
In his Life of the Admiral, his father,) " that the 
Admiral began to think, that If men could sail so far 
south, one might also sail west and find lands in that 
quarter/' The second great stream of modern dis- 
covery can thus be traced to the " generous Henry " 
of Camoens' Lusiads no less plainly, though more 
Indirectly, than the first ; the Western path was sug- 
gested by his success in the Eastern, 

But that success had turned the heads of his 
own people. When Columbus, the son of the Genoese? 
wool-comber, who had been a resident in Lisbon 
since 1470, submitted to the Court of John II. some 
time before 1484 a proposal to find Marco Polo's 

Prince Henry the Navigator. 

Cipangu by a few weeks' sail west, from the Azores, 
he was treated as a dreamer. John, as Henry's dis- 
ciple and successor, was, like other disciples, nar- 
rower than his master in the master's own way. 

He was ready for any expense and trouble, but 
no novelty. He would only go on as he had been 
taught. He had reason to be confident, and his 
scientific Junto of four, Martin Behaim of Nurem- 
burg among them, to whom Columbus was referred, 
were too much elated with their new improve- 
ments in the astrolabe, and the now assured con- 
fidence that the Southern Cape would soon be passed. 
They could not endure with patience the vehement 
dogmatism of an unknown theorist. 

But as he was too full of his message to be 
easily shaken off, he was treated with the basest 
trickery. At the suggestion of the Bishop of Ceuta, 
Columbus was kept waiting for his answer, and 
asked to furnish his plans in detail with charts and 
illustrations. He did so, and while the Council 
pretended to be poring over these for a final deci- 
sion, a caravel was sent to the Cape Verde islands 
to try the route he had suggested, a trial with the 
pickings of Italian brains. 

The Portuguese sailed westward for several days 
till the weather became stormy ; then, as their heart 
was not in the venture, they put back to Europe 
with a fresh stock of the legends Henry had so 
heartily despised. They had come to an impene- 
trable mist, which had stopped their progress ; ap- 
paritions had warned them back ; the sea in those 
parts swarmed with monsters ; it became impossible 
to breathe. 

MAP OF 149? 

Cotum&us and His Peers. 323 

Columbus learned how he had been used, and his 
wife's death helped to decide him, in his disgust for 
place and people. Towards the end of 1484, he left 
Lisbon. Three years later, when he had become 
fully as much disgusted with the dilatory sloth and 
tricks of Spain, he offered himself again to Portugal. 
King John had repented of his meanness ; on March 
20, 1488, he wrote in answer to Columbus, eagerly 
offering on his side to guarantee him against any 
suits that might be taken against him in Lisbon. 
But the Court of Castille now became, in its turn, 
afraid of quite losing what might be infinite advan- 
tage ; Columbus was kept in the service of Ferdi- 
nand and Isabella; and at last in August, 1492, the 
"Catholic Kings " sent him out from Palos to dis- 
cover what he could on his own terms. 

What followed, the discovery of America, and all 
the subsequent ventures of the Cabots, of Amerigo 
Vespucci, of Cortes and Pizarro, De Soto and 
Raleigh and the Pilgrim Fathers, are not often con- 
nected in any way with the slow and painful begin- 
nings of European expansion in the Portugal of the 
fifteenth century, but it is a true and real connec- 
tion all the same. The whole onward and outward 
movement of the great exploring age was set in 
motion by one man. It might have come to pass 
without him, but the fact is simply that through him 
it did, as a matter of history, result, " And let him 
that did more than this, go before him/' 



Abulfeda, 28 

Adelard, of Bath, geographical 
postulates, 9, 10 

Adelard or Atlielard, 84 

Affonso, comes of age, 257 ; mar- 
ries his cousin Isabel, 258 ; 
forces Pedro into revolt, and 
declares war against him, 258, 
259 ; sends out Gomez with a 
large caravel, 296 ; has the body 
of Prince Henry laid in chapel 
atBatalha, 305 ; carries on the 
work of his uncle, Prince 
Henry, 3x2, 313 ; is succeeded 
by King John II., 314 

Africa, shape of, 13 

Albateny, determined problems 
of astronomical geography, 19 

Albertus Magnus, geographical 
postulates, 9, n 

Albuquerque, 125 

Albyrouny, work of, 21 

Alfarrobeira, battle of, 260 

Alfred the Great, credit clue to, 

for discoveries, 72 ; efforts in 
exploration and religious ex- 
tension, 74 

Al Heravy, life of, 26 

Almada, the Hercules of Portu- 
gal, 184; stands by Pedro, 
259 ; dies, 260 

Almamoun, age of , 18 

Almanack, Arab, Latin transla- 
tion of, 21 

Ant islands discovered, 160 

Antoninus the Martyr, an older 
Mandeville, 34 ; legends of, 35 

Arctic colonies checked, 59 

Arculf , 42 ; travels of, 43 

Arguin, fort built in the bay of 

Arim, * ' World's Summit/' 8 ; 
taken as measure of places, 10 ; 
twofold, ii 

Armada of Lagos, 228-23^ 
" the third/' 247 

Atlielard, or Adelard, 84 

Avis, House of. See John, the 
King of Good Memory, 



Azambuga, Diego de, 315 
Azaneguys described by Cada- 

mosto, 269 
Azores, colonisation of, 251 ; the 

entire group found, 254 
Azurara, chronicler of voyages of 

Henry, 157 


Bacon, Roger, geographical pos- 
tulates, 9, ii 

Baldaya, Affonso, sent out with 
Gil Eannes, 173 ; his second 

voyage, 174-176 
Batti, King, 285, 286 
-Batuta, Ibn, 27 
Beginnings of the art and science 

of discovery, 145 
Benjamin of Tuleda, 88 
Bernard, ** the French monk/' 

route of, 46 
Bezeghichi, meets Gomez, 295 ; 

makes a treaty with Azambuga, 

Bjarni Herjulfson driven to new 

country, 56 
Blanco, Cape, visited by Cada- 

mosto, 267 
Boa Vista, 284 
Bojador, soutlimost point of 

Christian knowledge, t70 ; 

legends concerning, 171 ; 

doubled by Gil Eannes, 173 

Bruges, Jacques de, receives a 
grant of Captaincy of Ter- 
ceira, 254 

Cabral, Gonzalo, discovers For- 
miga group of islands and 
Santa Maria, 169 ; Captain 
Donatory in St. Mary's Island, 

251 ; settled in Western Isles, 

252 ; sent in search of land be- 
yond St. Mary, misses it, and 
is sent again, 252 ; discovers St 
Michael, 253 ; returns to St. 
Michael with Europeans, 253 

Cadamosto, record of his two 
voyages, 250 ; his narrative, 
261-288 ; is presented to the 
Prince, 263 ; visits Madeira, 
264, 265 j goes on to Canaries, 
265-267 ; to Cape Blanco, 267- 
269 ; reaches the Senegal, 269 ; 
describes Azaneguys, 269 ; 
pushes on to land of Budomel, 
27$-278 ; reaches Cape Verde, 
279 ; describes people beyond, 
280 ; explores the Gambra, 
281, 282 ; goes back to Portu- 
gal, refits, and sails on second ' 
voyage, 283 ; explores islands 
of Cape Verde, 283, 284; 
names Boa Vesta and St. 
James, 284 ; sails up the Gam- 



bra and names St. Andrew, 
285 ; visits Battimansa, 285, 
286, and GiTumimansa, 287 ; 
returns to Lisbon, 287 ; leaves 
Portugal, 313 
Camaldolese chart of Fra Mauro, 


Cam, Diego, 315 ; reaches the 

Congo and Walvisch Bay, 316 

Canaries, visited by Caclamosto, 


Cantor, visited by Gomez, 291 
Cape Cod, reached by Scandi- 
navian migration, 65 
Cape St. Vincent, modern name 
for "Sacred Cape" and 
Sagres, 160 
Carpini, John cle Piano, 90 ; his 

Book of the Tartars, 92 
Ceuta, King John plans an at- 
tack on, 148 ; situation, 150 ; 
left in command of Menezes, 
155 ; safe in Christian hands, 


Chart of Fra Mauro, 301 
Christian pilgrimage begins with 

Constantino, 3 2 
Cintra, Gonsalo cle, 197 ; sets out 

for Guinea, 218 ; is killed by 

Moors, 219 
Cintra, Pedro de, 313 
Columbus, influenced by Imago 

Mundi, II ; at Portuguese 

Court, 322 ; at Spanish Court, 


lonstantine, Christian pilgrim- 
age begins with, 32 

Corvo, 254, 256 

Cosmas Indicopleustes, 34 ; 
theory of, 37 ; interest to us, 

Costa, Sueiro da, 313 

Covilham, 316 

Crossness, place called from dead 

chief, 59 
Crusades and land travel, 76 ; 

results of, 144 
Crusading movement, results of, 

Cruzado, the, 300 


Daniel of Kiev, Abbot, 85 
Death, Black, in Portugal, 127 
De Praclo, taken captive, 297; 

martyrised, 298 
Diaz, Bartholomew, 316 ; makes 

greatest discovery in all history 

before Columbus, 317 
Diaz, Diniz, enters mouth of the 

Senegal, 220; reaches Cape 

Verde, 221 ; heads a part of 

the fleet sent from Lagos, 229 ; 

reaches Cape Verde, 236 
Diaz, Lawrence, 230 
Diaz, Vincent, 233 



Eannes, Cil, makes a voyage to 
the Canaries, 170; rounds 
Cape Bojador, 173 ; sails with 
Lagos fleet, 229 

Edrisi, Arabic Ptolemy, the, 21 ; 
birth and life, 22 ; account of 
voyage of Lisbon "Wander- 
ers," 23 ; " Traveller's Doc- 
torate," in time of, 25 ; map 
superseded, 27 

Edward, eldest son of King 
John, 136; becomes King, 
172 ; dies, 1 88 

Emosaid, family, 24; establish 
themselves as traders, 25 

England, Vikings first landed in, 

English-bonx travellers, first of, 


Eratosthenes, geography of, $ 
Eric the Red, renames Green- 
land, 55 ; leads colonists, 56 
Esteeves, Alvaro, crosses the 

equator, 314 
Europe, compacted together in 

spiritual federation, 76 
European development, pilgrim 

stage of, 42 
European expansion, beginnings 

of, 50 
Europeans, first landing of, on 

coasts of unknown Africa, 175 ; 

break in upon Moslem trade, 


Farosangul, King of Gambra,, 


Fayal, 254; first Captain Dona- 
tory of, 255 

Ferdinand, fourth son of King, 
John, 136 ; revives scheme of 
African war, 180 ; goes by sea 
to Tangier, 182 ; is left as 
hostage, 185 ; dies a captive, 

Ferdinand the Handsome, last of 
House of Burgundy to reign iu 
Lisbon, 131 

Fernandez, Alvara, commands. 
the caravel of his uncle, Zarco, 
229 ; is again scut out with the 
caravel, 243 ; the voyage, 243*"* 

Fernando/,, Joan, left as hostage 

at Bank of Arguin, 219; 

taken home, 223; his story, 

223, 224 
Fernandez, Martin, crosses the 

equator, 314 

Ferrer, Jaymo, explorer, 108 
Fidells, the monk, travels of, 4C* 
Flores, 254, 356 
Formigas discovered by Cabral* 



3 2 9 

Frangazick, nephew of Faro- 

sangul, 290 
Freitas, Alvara de, 232 
Freydis, daughter of Red Eric, 

tries to colonise Vinland, 62 


<&ama, Vasco da, 125 
geographical record, last before 

age of Northmen, 47 
Geography, first Christian, 33 ; 

of Christendom from eighth 

and ninth centuries, 41 
Gerard of Cremona, geographical 

postulates, 9, 10 
Gnumi, King, 287 
Gog and Magog, wall to shut off, 


Gold dust, first ever brought by 
Bxtropeans direct from Guinea 
coast, 203 ; effect, 217 

Gomez, Diego, 251 ; sets out in 
command of the caravel the 
Wren 289 ; his narrative 289- 
298 ; visits Cantor, 29 1 ; con- 
verts Nomimansa, 293-295 ; 
meets Bezeghiebl, 295 ; returns 
to Lagos, 296 ; is sent out 
by Alfonso and goes to the 
land of the Barbacins, 296 ; 
discovers Santiago, 297 ; re- 
turns to Portugal, 298 ; de- 
scribes last illness and death of 
Prince Henry, 304, 305 

Gonsalvez, Antam, sent out by 
Henry, 193 ; his voyage, 193- 
195 ; takes the first captives, 
195 ; is knighted by Nuno 
Tristam, 198 ; goes back to 
Portugal, 199 ; goes back to 
Africa with the captive prince, 
202 ; exchanges two boys for 
ten prisoners, gold dust, and 
ostrich eggs, 203 ; applies for 
command of ships, 222 
Graciosa, 254 ; settled, 255 
Greenland, sighted by Gunnbiorn 
and renamed by Eric, 55 ; 
colonised, 56 

Green sea of darkness, 13, 14 
Gregory X., Pope, 93 

Harold Hardrada, 68 ; type of 

all Vikings, 69 
Helluland, or Slate-land, 56 
Henry, the Navigator, special in- 
terest of the life and work, 29 ; 
author of discovering move- 
ment, 30 ; preparation for 
work of, 80 ; predecessors of 
seamen of, 107-112 ; first voy- 
age, 112 ; maps used by, 117- 
122 ; Hero of Portugal, 123 ; 
inspires Ms countrymen, with 
love of exploration, 125 ; his 
brother Peclro his right hand 
man, 136 ; birth, 138 ; his aims, 



Henry, the Navigator, Continued. 
139 ; tries to find a way round 
Africa to India, 139 ; his work 
of exploration a foundation of 
an empire for Ms country, 141 ; 
a crusader and a missionary, 
142 ; sets the example for sys- 
tematic exploration, 144 ; the 
teacher and master of more 
successful explorers, 145 ; 
sends out caravels past Cape 
Non, 147 ; brings Portuguese 
fleet into harbour at Ceuta, 1 50; 
anchors off Ceuta, 151 ; leads 
in the attack on Ceuta and is 
reported dead, 152 ; is made a 
knight, 153 ; begins coasting 
voyages, 154 ; is sent to relieve 
Ceuta, 155 ; plans to get pos- 
session, of Gibraltar, 156 j re- 
turns to Court, 156; is made 
Puke of Viseu and Lord of 
Covilliam* 157 ; reasons for ex- 
ploring Guinea, 158; Sagrcs 
3ns chosen home, 160 ; is made 
Governor for life of the Al- 
garves, 160 ; his buildings on 
Sagres, 161 ; his scientific 
work, 162 ; results of settle- 
ment on Cape St. Vincent, 163 ; 
sends out men an4 ships to 
colonise Porto Santo, 1,64 ; 
colonises Madeira, 166 ; di- 

rects captains to Azores, 169 ; 
impatience at superstition and 
fears of navigators, 172 ; re- 
ceives charter for ^ladeira, 
Porto Santo, and the Desertas, 
173; sends out Gil Eannes, 
173 ; despatches Baldaya, 174 ; 
engaged in politics, 179 ; 
reverence paid to him, 179; 
plans and organises African 
war, 1 80 ; sets sail for Ceuta, 
181 ; pushes forward along in- 
land routes, 182 ; attacks and 
blockades Tangier, 183 ; raises 
the siege, 184 ; signs a truce 
with Moors, 185 ; shuts him- 
self up in Ceuta, iSC; is re- 
called to Portugal, 1 86 ; made 
one of the guardians of Affonso 
V, 189 ; arranges a compro- 
mise between Pedro and Leo- 
nor, 190; sends to the Holy 
Father for treasure to aid in 
crusades, 200 ; gives grant to 
sail to coast of Guinea to Lau- 
yarote, 206 ; his motives in 
.slave trade, 307 ; keeps bucca- 
neers in check, 216 ; differs 
from West Indian planters, 
217; gives a caravel to Gon- 
nalo de Cmtra, 2t8 ; permits 
Lagos to equip and send out 
a fleet on a Guinea voyage , 



Henry, the Navigator Continued. 
229 ; takes special charge of 
widows and orphans left by 
Nuno Tristam's expedition, 
242 ; gives a reward to explor- 
ers, 246 ; his wonderful knowl- 
edge shown in correcting Ca- 
bral's course, 252 ; grants cap- 
taincy of Terceira to Jacques 
de Bruges, 254; account of 
him in narrative of Cadamosto, 
261 ; absorbed in new Holy 
War against the Infidel, 299 ; 
his last appearance in public 
service, 300 ; makes set of 
charters, 303 ; makes grants to 
the Order of Christ and to the 
Crown of Portugal, 304 ; his 
illness and death, 304, 305 ; 
his body is laid in the chapel at 
Batalha, 305 ; his personal ap- 
pearance, 305 ; his character, 
306 ; results of his life, 309- 
312, 321, 323 
Heravy, Al, life of, 26 
Hereford Mappa Mundi, 120 
Heurter, Job van, notice of first 

settlement of Azores, 255 
Hippalus, discovery of monsoon, 

Hope, country re-named, 60 

Ibn Batuta, 27 

Iceland, sighted by Nadodd, 54 ; 
colonised, 55 

Tmago Mundi, influence on Co- 
lumbus, II 

Isidore of Seville, belief of, 40 

Italian, merchants, first, who 
opened Court of Great Khan to 
Venice and Genoa, 90 ; age of 
South Atlantic and African 
voyages, 107 

Jacome from Majorca, 161 

Japan discovered by Kublai 
Khan, 99 

Jerusalem, loss of, 90 

John de Piano Carpini, first papal 
legate to the Tartars, 90 ; 
gives first genuine account of 
Tartary, 91 ; first real explorer 
of Christian Europe, 92 

John, fourth son of King John 
I., 136; succeeds AffonsoV., 
adds a new chapter to discov- 
ery, dies, 314 

John, the King of Good Memory, 
transition figure, 133 ; personal 
work and its results, 133-135 ; 
sons of, 136 ; plans attack on 
Ceuta, 148 ; speech when he 
hears of death of his two sons, 
152 ; dies, 160 

Jorclanus, 104 

33 2 


ICarlsefne, Thorilnn, greatest of 

the Vinland sailors, 60 
Keel-Ness (Kjalarness), 58 
ICublai Ivhan, 93-98 


Labrador, possible discovery of, 
56 ; reached by Scandinavian 
migration, 65 
Lagos equips and sends out a 

fleet, 229 
La Mina, 315 

Lan<;arote, obtains grant to sail 
to coast of Guinea, 206 ; his 
voyage, 212-214; lauding at 
Lagos and sale of slaves cap- 
tured by, 214 ; admiral of fleet 
sent out from Lagos, 229 ; 
holds a council of his captains, 
231 ; decides to go on to the 
Nile, 232 
Latini, Brunetto, describes the 

magnet, 116 
Leif, a son of Red Eric, starts 

for discovery, 56 

Leonora Telles, evil genius of 
Ferdinand and Portugal, 131 ; 
marries King of Portugal, 132 ; 
people rise against, 132 
Lconor of Arogon, attempts to 
be regent, 189 ; yields to per- 
suasions of Henry, 190 ; dies, 

Lion, first one brought to POP 

tugal, 247 
Lisbon, capture of, 128 


Machin, Robert, no 

Madagascar, first known to 
Europe, 102 

Madeira, discovered and named 
by the Portuguese, 165 ; nature 
of island, 166; visited by 
Cadamosto, 264 

Magellan, 125, 310 

Magnet, earliest mention of, 115 

Magnus the Good, 68 

Mandeville, Sir Henry, 105 

Map fa Mundiy Hereford, 120 

Maps, of fourteenth and early 
fifteenth centuries, u8 

Marabout, or Prophet Bird, 230 

Markland (Woodland), 57 

Massoudy, visited various coun- 
tries, 19 ; discussion of prob- 
lems, 20 \ greatest name of 
first age of Arabic geography 

Masts, Capo of, 238 

Mauro, Fra, Camaldolcfto chart 
of, 301 

Melli, negro empire of, 270; 
salt trade in, 271 

Menezes, Edward, 300 

Mcnczos* Pedro de, in loft in 
command of Ccuta* 155 



Meymam, Ahude, 223, 224, 245 
Mythology, geographical, grad- 
ual development of, 7 


Noli, Antonio de, sails with 
Gomez, 297 ; gets the cap- 
taincy of Santiago, 298 

Nomimansa converted "by Gomez, 

Norse, discoveries, 50, 51 ; early 
settlements, 54 ; farthest point 
of Northern advance in Europe, 
55 ; race, type of, 69 

Northern, advance, lines of, 53 ; 
effects of invasions, 74 

Northmen, countries made known 
to Europe through, 67 ; defi- 
nite advances into the un- 
known, 72 

Odjein, Aryn, or Arim, 8 
Oganc, 316 

Ohthcre, 70 ; service of, to west- 
ern geography, 72 
Olaf Trygveson, 68 

Pacheco, Gonsalo, unlucky ex- 
pedition of, 225 ; meets Dmz 
on liomeward voyage and turns 
"back, 230 

Papal Court sends missions to 

convert Tartars, 90 
Payva, 316 

Pedro the Traveller, 136 ; joins 
in attack on Ceuta, 148-153 ; 
is knighted, 153 ; is made 
Duke of Coimbra and Lord of 
the Principality, 157 ; returns 
from travels, 168 ; "becomes 
regent, 190 ; gives a charter 
to Henry, 201 ; gives a reward 
to explorers, 246 ; resigns the 
regency, 258 ; takes arms 
against Affonso, 259 ; marches 
on Lisbon and is killed, 260 
Philippa, Queen, character and 

death, 149 

Pilgrims, primitive, 34 j pioneers 
of growth of Europe and 
Christendom, 76 

Pilgrim stage of European de- 
velopment, 42 

Pires, Gomes, goes on toward 
the Nile, 232 j attacks natives, 

Po Fernando, 313 
Polo, Marco, makes journey to 
the East with uncles, 94 ; made 
commissioner of Imperial 
Council, 96 ; memoirs of, 96 ; 
licarcl and wrote of Madagas- 
car and Zanzibar, 102; Herod- 
otus of Middle Ages, 103 ; 



Polo, ISficolo and Matteo, traders 
to Crimea and Southern Rus- 
sia, 93 ; make second journey 
to farthest East, 94 ; consult- 
ing engineers to Mongol Court, 
96 ; dismissed, xor 

Pope, decides question of reviv- 
ing African war, iSl 

Portolani, superseded map of 
Edrisi, 27 ; drawn with aid of 
compass, 121 

Portolano, Laurentian, 118 

Portugal, chief points in story of, 
123 ; guide of Europe into 
larger world, 125 ; mediaeval 
history of, 126-133 

Portuguese give a value to the 
art and science of discovery, 


Prado De, 297, 298 
Prophet bird, or marabout, 230 
Ptolemy, chart of, 2 ; 4t Habit- 
able Quarter" of the world, 



Rio Grande, 246 ; passed by 

Gomez, 289 
Rubruquis, William do, 92, 93 

St. George, 254, 255 
St. James, 284 

St. Michael, island of, discovered, 


St. Silvia, of Aquitaine, travels 
of, 33 

** Sacred Cape " of the Romans 
or Sagres, 160 

Sacwulf of Worcester, 81 ; pil- 
grimage of, 82 ; classes of pil- 
grim-crusaders in time of, 84 

Sagres, chosen home of Henry, 
I Go ; systematic study of ap- 
plied science founded anew at, 

Santa Maria discovered, 169 

Santiago discovered by Gomez, 

Sanuto, Marino, Venetian map 
of, 118 

Senegal, reached by Cadamosto, 
269 ; region about the gulf 
described by him, 273-275 

Sinbatl Saga, 19 

Slate-land or llclluland, 56 

Slaves, beginning of trade in, as 
a part of European commerce, 
207 ; description of sale of, 
214, 215 ; treatment of, 315 ; 
excuse for trade in, 216 

Strabo, geography of, 5 

Tagwa, or tho Gold-Market, 270 
Tangier, siege of, 183 


Tarik, the rock of (Gibraltar), 

Terceira, sighted, 253 ; Jacques 
de Bruges becomes captain, 

Theodosius, early pilgrim, 34 

Thorfinn Karlsefne, greatest of 
the Vinland sailors, 60 

Thorstein, third son of Red Eric, 
puts to sea, 59 

Thorvald Ericson, puts to sea, 
57 ; voyages of, 58 ; death, 59 

Timbuctoo, inland route of mer- 
chants to, 270 

Tristam, Nuno, meets Antani 
Gonsalvez, 196 ; assists in cap- 
turing natives, 196-199 : con- 
tinues voyage and returns to 
Portugal, 199 ; sets out on 
another voyage, 204 ; sails into 
bay of Arguin, makes captives 
and returns, 205 ; makes a 
third voyage, 219 ; reaches 
Cape Palmar, 220 ; arms a cara- 
vel and sets sail, 240 ; is killed 
by Blackmoors, 241 

Trygveson, Olaf, 68 

Vallarte, his expedition and fate, 

Vaz, Tristam, sets out to explore 

as far as the coast of Guinea, 

163 ; is rewarded, 166 ; heads 
three ships from Madeira in 
Lagos fleet, 229 
Vergil, Irish missionary, 40 
Vikings, highest type of explorers, 
31 ; Norse, discoveries, con- 
quests, and colonies, beginning 
of European expansion, 50 ; 
voyages of, 52 ; struggle with 
Esquimaux, 58 ; rename places 
visited, 65 ; work on south and 
south-west not one of explora- 
tion, 66 ; type of all, 69 ; credit 
due, for discoveries, 72 ; their 
principalities in time of Alfred, 


Vinland, discovery of, 57 \ re- 
named, 60 ; visited and aban- 
doned by Thorfinn, 61 ; re- 
colonised by Freydis, 62 ; frag- 
mentary notices of, 63 


" Wanderers," Lisbon, account 
of, 23 

William de Rubruquis, sent by 
St. Louis on errand of conver- 
sion and discovery, 92 ; inter- 
est of his work, 93 

Willibald, 44 

Wulfstan, 70 ; tells of voyages, 
71 : service of, to western 
geography, 72 



, Y 

Yacout, the Roman, Dictionary 

of, 26 
Yang-Tse-Kiang, 96 

2arco, John Gonsalvez, sets out 

to explore as far as the coast 
of Guinea, 163 ; Ins voyages, 
164-166 ; returns to Madeira, 
1 66 ; sends his caravel under 
his nephew with Lagos fleet, 
229 ; the voyage, 236-239 ; 
same caravel sent out again 3